back to article Powermat cuts ties with cabled power

Power sockets clogged with gadget chargers and swamped by a cable spaghetti will soon be just a memory, if Powermat has its way. Powermat_01 Powermats charge gadgets wirelessly The US company has unveiled five wireless charging mats - all called Powermats - for phones and laptops. According to the company, these provide …

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ben
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Nice!

Excellent, can we put it under roads and power our Segway cars of the future??

Also how long till the daily mail picks up on this and purports to the “EVIL CANCER RAYS 2.0 coming to a MacDonald’s near you.”?

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No thanks.

You need to retrofit the device with a battery that has an inductive coil in it. This is expensive. Plus the technology is hideously inefficient with massive power loss which given the current rising energy prices seems a step backwards. What we really need is for EVERYONE to standardise on mini USB as a power supply...

A UK outfit called splashpower were pedaling this snake oil for years until recently investors saw the light and pulled the plug.

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Boffin

Isn't this leaving out...

Isn't this leaving out the small issue that only devices with Powermat power coils designed into them can be charged on a Powermat?

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Ash
Joke

High capacity juice!

5kV through your hip replacement, anyone?

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Sounds great

Until you read the detail. In order for a device to get its power from the mat it needs to be in a special jacket. Each jacket has to be made specifically for each device.

So, rather than having nice, cheap, small, mini-usb charger for everything as I do now and that can be charged at home, at work, in the car, on holiday, from a PC, from a laptop etc. this system would require me to buy at least one mat, spend $30 on a jacket for every device I want to charge (assuming they make jackets for all my devices) and then I can only charge them where I have both a mat, the device and the requisite jacket with me.

Where is the advantage to this system?

I'm sure there probably are a few people, with major disabilities, who find plugging a mini-usb cable into the bottom of a device to charge it up a real chore. For everyone else, the charge mat seems like more hassle and a LOT more expensive.

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Three Words...

EMC?

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Coat

@AC "No thanks"

You pedal a bicycle (or a pedalo, like one Mr. Flintoff does)

You peddle merchandise / drugs / whatever

Mine's the one with "Pedant" on the back

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Unhappy

Whoah!

This is going to be so inefficient, at a time when we are supposed to be looking for ways to reduce power consumption. These devices are going to get G energy ratings and probably cause childhood Leukaemia to boot!

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how about

if we fitted somthing simila to some places in the roads (at trafic lights and in parking spots) and then we could induction charge cars when they are on the road and make electric cars a viable propisision?

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Flame

Really?

"iPods, iPhones, BlackBerrys, GPS devices, handheld gaming consoles and laptops can all be charged up wirelessly using a Powermat"

Really? Really really?

All of those are compatible already? How remarkable. I was very impressed with the picture of an iPhone charging - when can I buy one? Not compatible without an adapter fitted? Nothing currently on sale has one built in? Who'd have thought it.

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Efficiency?

How efficient is this technology? I hooked up my Kill-A-Watt to my cell phone charger, and it reports 0 watts when the phone isn't connected, and between 1 and 2 watts when it is. That said, I do use a similar system for recharging my Wii controllers, so this isn't some theoretical technology, just another company pushing something that already exists. And the good news is that if it takes off, everything needed to support it on the device will be built-in in the future. So given that they don't talk about efficiency, I assume there's a big downside there.

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Splashpower indeed

Thank you for remembering Splashpower, and I look forward to the day when this lot, and others playing a similar game [1], which appears to call itself WiTricity and includes a company called PowerBeam, meet the same fate.

USB and miniUSB are perfectly adequate for loads of stuff - enough power via cheap industry-standard connectors already likely to be on the equipment, what else do you need?

For slightly heavier duty stuff, I'm baffled as to why Power over Ethernet hasn't caught on. Even for stuff that doesn't inherently need a LAN connection (a cheap scanner, a cheap printer, etc) you could connect power via PoE connections using existing PoE chips and technologies, and swap the connector on the usual wall wart for a LAN connector instead (until the day when PoE becomes ubiquitous and wall warts become obsolete).

Daft WiTricity article from The Observer:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/jan/04/wireless-power-technology-witricity

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Joke

Re: Three Words...

It's actually two (Electromagnetic Compatibility) but since the sole criterion for compatibility has become "the screwdriver doesn't vibrate at 50Hz from ten feet away and it hasn't cooked the canary" and the CE stickers are generally attached just after the failboat's containers are unloaded these days, the C has become an F, Electromagnetic Free-for-all, and nobody cares. At least you don't need a huge amount of money for an EM isolation booth, spectrum analysers and log periodics any more. And here we all thought it stood for Electromotive Force.

What are you, some sort of radio amateur or something, worrying about the RF spectrum when there's bugger all on there below 97MHz but ex-CBers and static interspersed with the occasional IK9RYH baiting session on 14.195? Don't you know that halfwits, boiler thermostats and crap switched-mode PSUs own the bands these days?

...-.-

As an aside, I'll bet a pound to a pinch of excrement that these make excellent degaussers. Are you imagining the hilarity that I'm imagining? I also wonder how well they cope with a loop or two of rather beefy wire (like, say, a pair of wire framed specs) carelessly dropped right on top of one? Flames or a dead fuse first? I'm not taking bets but I'll have a fiver on flames, just because it's flames I'm rooting for, if anyone else is running a book. Makes good headlines on The Reg, don't you know... ;o)

Being serious for just a second, I really don't see the point. Of course, I also don't see the point of those solar patio lights, even though everyone else seems to, so it could just be me.

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We've been told to...

...unplug our phones as soon as they've charged and only to charge them when they're about to run out in order to save the planet. Now they're manufacturing something that constantly draws power and charges anything you put on it.

If they're banning proper light bulbs it won't be long until this is gone either.

Great idea though.

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Happy

@@AC "No thanks"

how about 'michael'...?

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Bronze badge
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Almost perfect

Make it thinner and add more spaces for devices. It would also be handy to have slots in the pad so devices don't accidentally slide away. With slots in the pad, efficient mechanical electrical connections could replace the wasteful and hazardous EM coupling.

Hey, I think I'm on to something. I'm going to patent my new invention and call it a "Power Strip." Prepare to see this new device in hardware stores all over the world.

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Go

Not new

This is an old concept. Tesla wanted to broadcast electricity feely and never trash the countryside with wires and poles, but the powers that be make too much moola on selling power via wires, cables, and batteries. Greed will not be happy that someone has broken free from the chains imposed upon them.

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it works

It's not a new concept, but it's one that finally appears to work. The manufacturers say that it's 90% efficient between the coils and that there are magnets to ensure the device and mat couple, no sliding. The technology also includes a handshake to determine how much power to transmit and can stop the transmission when the device is charged. Also, if you're a mini-USB guy, just buy the dongle with the USB tip instead of a case and charge everything with that. Sheesh. Tough crowd.

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Tough crowd.

"Also, if you're a mini-USB guy, just buy the dongle with the USB tip instead of a case and charge everything with that."

Brilliant. So I plug the charger into the mains, then plug the mini-USB into the device, then place the dongle onto the charger. All that extra convenience at the knock down price of less efficient charging and more expensive equipment.

Does anybody know if snake oil cures sarcasm?

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tough crowd redux

The thing I'm eager to check out when this comes to market is that the dongle/docks appear to be universal devices. So yeah, I'm with you, you still have to plug the mat in and then place some sort of receiver on the mat that connects to your gizmos. But at least in my world, if I can plug in most of my devices to a single adapter/dongle I still win. I can retire that drawer full of cables and adapters in favor of one multi-purpose unit. We'll see how it plays out.

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Happy

Powermat

What an amazing idea! I can't wait to get one for our family!

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It's about time..

...that someone thought this up!

I have a charging station home now and it's overrun with wires.

wireless = awesome!

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