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Power

Wireless Power Consortium Pushes For Standard 221

Posted by timothy
from the how-about-a-wide-range-of-standards dept.
Slatterz writes "We've already heard about wireless power before, but now we're a step closer to throwing away our power cables and chargers. A consortium of eight companies has launched an initiative to develop a wireless power standard. The drive was announced at the first Wireless Power Consortium conference at the Hong Kong Science Park yesterday. Most consumer electronic devices require a different charger, and the resulting tangle of wires and bulky devices is 'ugly, frustrating and inconvenient to use,' the group said. 'Wireless power charging takes away the need for wires and connectors. You simply drop your mobile phone, game device, electric shaver on the charging station and the battery is recharged,' explained Satoru Nishimura, senior manager at Sanyo."
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Wireless Power Consortium Pushes For Standard

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  • Re:But... (Score:5, Informative)

    by De Lemming (227104) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @07:15PM (#26166899) Homepage

    The Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] talks about efficiencies between 40% and 80% for near field transmission. Indeed, that seems like a serious waste just for the convenience of not having to plug in your device...

    FYI, far field transmissions using microwave can reach an efficiency of 95%, but I don't think you want such a beam in your house :-)

  • by Anthony_Cargile (1336739) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @07:22PM (#26166977) Homepage
    Because then the OEMs and hardware companies would be losing money due to consumers buying the same cable for their product from another, cheaper, company thus losing profit. If Dell sold replacement power supplies for their laptops for ~$20.00, and say since the cable is a standard HP sells the same one for $15.00, Dell would be losing some profit unless they change the connector on the cable to only fit their hardware, hence the "drawer full of cables" we all seem to have (except those in the A/V business, where this is almost never the case).

    Despite this, however, other companies still tend to sell proprietary cables for other hardware anyway, I just a replacement power cable for my laptop from an obscure (yet cheaper) eBay store for half the price my laptop's OEM was selling it for.

    But I agree, like current AC power cables for desktops, why can't laptops and other devices have the same standardized power cables? Think of ye olde motherboard molex connectors - there were 2 types, one pretty much entirely for floppies and the other for hard drives. The same could apply to power adapters, and save teh consumers time, stress, and drawer space. If every USB device had a different connector, my house would be insulated with wires right now :p.
  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @07:43PM (#26167219)

    Actually, cords are a pain for portable gear. Plugging and unplugging, and moving them is very hard on them. I go through a laptop power cord about once a year. They all wear out right where the wire enters the connector on the laptop side. For cell phones, the connectors themselves often break, get dirty or otherwise damaged. Irritating when it happens to the cord. Worse when it happens to the phone.

    Other than using a heavier cord, or a heavy support mesh, there's not really much that can be done about it. A charging surface where there's no mechanical connection would be very handy.

  • by DynaSoar (714234) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @07:44PM (#26167251) Journal

    You can't develop a standard if you don't have similar technologies, and wireless power developers so far have been coming up with all kinds of different technologies. Remove the part of TFA that makes no sense in light of this, and you end up with an advertisement for this "consortium" disguised as a press release, faithfully and unquestioningly reproduced by PC Authority. Had PC Authority tried to do real journalism rather than simple reproduction, they'd have found that not only are the major proposed schemes so different that the idea of standardization is ridiculous, but that some of the members of the consortium aren't even developing any of those schemes.

  • by Sabz5150 (1230938) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @07:48PM (#26167287)

    Wireless power is only practical in short ranges anyway. With standardized cables I wouldn't have drawerfuls of power cables.

    Which is precisely what they're aiming for.

    A standardized cable isn't gonna help you much when your mobile phone takes 5 volts to charge and your shaver or laptop takes 9 to 18. I imagine the technology would mimic proximity cards, you'd have a flat surface (say, a tabletop) and you'd sit your PDA, mobile, laptop, portable game system, etc. on it and depending on the number of windings in the receiving device and a small rectifier circuit, it would automatically receive the proper voltage.

    AC electricity is fun.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 18, 2008 @07:51PM (#26167321)

    Two Coils joined with a Core. No Core, and the efficiency goes way down

  • Re:"Cancer" tag (Score:3, Informative)

    by Uzik2 (679490) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @07:55PM (#26167361)
    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/risk/magnetic-fields [cancer.gov] There's a low probability of this giving you cancer.
  • Re:But... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Teresita (982888) <badinage1.netzero dot net> on Thursday December 18, 2008 @10:28PM (#26168513) Homepage
    You'd just need to put a wireless power thinggy on your desk and VIOLA! No more charging cables!

    Just don't put it under your desk for very long, or your boys won't swim anymore.

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