Posted by: Arik Hesseldahl on January 7, 2009
About 18 months ago I wrote this story on an Israeli startup called Powermat which caught my attention for its wireless charging technology.
Today I talked briefly with Powermat President Rob Ferber who is at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (where I, thankfully, am not) who tells me that the company plans to have products in stores in the US by the fall of this year.
Imagine recharging your Blackberry, your iPhone, your notebook PC, your iPod simply by setting any or all of them down on a table or counter top? All you’d need is the Powermat system, which consists of a mat and a receiver. The principle at work is electromagnetic induction, which as I wrote in 2007 is an idea that dates back more than a century and is widely associated with Nikola Tesla, the Russian scientist who in the 1890s demonstrated that the wireless transmission of power was possible.
I’ve seen early demonstrations and the stuff works. Here’s some products in the works:
A case for your iPhone, Blackberry, iPod, etc that contains the receiver. It might sell for $20 or $30 and would work with a mat that would sell for about $100. A mat, which is plugged into one AC outlet, could charge several devices at once, saving you the hassle of searching for a convenient outlet.
Another concept uses a puck-shaped receiver connected to a cord that would both charge and power your notebook, while at the same time still have the capacity to charge one or two mobile devices.
Down the road, Ferber says you’ll be able to hang a flat screen TV on the wall, and have the necessary power reside within the wall, meaning that if you were to remove the set from the wall its hanging on there’s be no power cord necessary. Another idea is to power kitchen appliances like blenders and food processors directly from the kitchen counter. See the Powermat web site for some demonstration videos.
Charging all my stuff is such a pain in the neck. I always have to remember which charger goes with which device. At home we call them our “pets,” because they all need to be fed regularly. It would be nice to feed them all in an easier manner.