When we talk about the energy efficiency of our electronics, we usually are thinking about internal improvements, both hardware and software, that cut down on energy use. What we don't usually think about is what plugs it into the wall. Thankfully, the smart people at MIT are on the case.
Professor David Perreault has come up with a novel circuit design that has led to the creation of the world's smallest laptop adapter that runs a quarter of the size of the typical laptop brick. This small charger is able to run at higher frequencies (between 30MHz and 300MHz -- a thousand times faster than conventional adapters) thanks to technology that recycles power that is usually lost in traditional circuit designs. The higher frequencies plus the reclaimed power could lead to more efficient electronic devices.
The 65 watt adapter, being made by startup FINsix, can also charge tablets and smartphones because it comes with a USB connector. It can even charge more than one device at once.
The ability to run at higher frequencies allows the adapter to be smaller in size, which means less material and ultimately lower cost. This new technology can be used in more than just laptop chargers, but also could be used to make larger appliances like air conditioners and washing machines more efficient.
The new adapter will hit the market in mid-2014, though no price has been set yet. It will debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month where it is being featured as an Engineering Award winner.