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Cellphones Handhelds Power Wireless Networking Hardware Technology

Wireless Power Group Has 'Qi' Prototypes 117

Posted by timothy
from the now-you-can-charge-in-the-bathtub dept.
judgecorp writes "Steady progress on inductive wireless charging. There are now certified prototypes of chargers for Blackberry and iPhone devices that meet the Qi specification of the Wireless Power Consortium, which was announced last year. The spec has advanced from version 0.95 to 1.0, too."
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Wireless Power Group Has 'Qi' Prototypes

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  • by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Friday September 03, 2010 @07:40AM (#33463372) Journal

    I'm not really sure what the overall benefit of the "wireless" electromagnetic induction chargers are. You're still left with a wire (from the wall to your induction charger plate) and now, you're left with the added problem of having to hunt around for the induction charger plate whenever you need to charge your device. Plus, I'm betting those chargers will cost you a lot more than, say, a USB mini cable. It just seems like the technology's desperately looking for an audience.

  • by Vylen (800165) on Friday September 03, 2010 @07:40AM (#33463374)

    Zombie Nicola Tesla, perhaps.

  • by Alwin Henseler (640539) on Friday September 03, 2010 @07:51AM (#33463468) Homepage

    I'd think the main advantage would be one of convenience - come home, drop cellphone on charging pad. When leaving, just pick up cellphone from charging pad. No fiddling with small power plugs or figuring out which adapter/plug goes into which device, and (if some sort of compatibility is maintained between these devices): drop multiple devices on the same (larger) charging pad.

    Of course some losses would be associated with inductive charging, but unless very significant I doubt that's a problem for low power devices like cellphones.

  • by maxume (22995) on Friday September 03, 2010 @07:56AM (#33463502)

    The electricity most people use for small electronics pales in comparison to the energy they use for heating and cooling.

    The public awareness programs trying to get people to unplug chargers are ridiculous, that money should be spent trying to convince them to move their thermostat 1/2 degree or add insulation.

    And please note that I'm not saying that it won't have any impact, I'm saying that the impact it has is so much smaller than other things that it is currently a wasted effort.

  • by needs2bfree (1256494) on Friday September 03, 2010 @08:07AM (#33463566)
    Is there a currency drain through those contacts when immersed in water with high salinity or other contaminants?
  • by natoochtoniket (763630) on Friday September 03, 2010 @09:15AM (#33464190)

    It's not really about efficiency or financial savings. It's about consumer psychology. Of course, the big items have the big potential gains. But, big items cost big money to change. People don't spend big money until they know and understand the benefit. Little things have smaller potential gains,but can be implemented for little or no money. A PR campaign for a little thing educates the consumers about the issue, without threatening the consumers emotionally by telling them to spend a lot of money. Power adapters and light bulbs are the two major examples of such campaigns.

    Getting people to change a light bulb is a little thing. It costs just a couple bucks, and takes just a few minutes. And, old light bulbs need to be replaced when they fail, anyway. The savings to one consumer by changing one light bulb is only a few bucks. But there is a big savings, both environmentally and economically, when you multiply by the number of light bulbs i the nation and the hours that they are normally operated.

    Power adapters cost a little more to replace with high-efficiency units, but can be unplugged easily and for not cost. The campaign to get people to unplug power adapters isn't really going to save much power, because the newer units really don't use much power, and older units get replaced anyway whenever the phone gets replaced. The savings from 'unplugging' is also smaller because it takes labor, so most people just won't do it. So, there really isn't much actual power savings available. But, because "unplugging" is free, it is a non-threatening way to achieve some consumer education.

    The biggest effect is that it gets consumers to think about the power that they use in their houses. After a consumer understands the potential savings, they become more willing to spend some capital to get more of those savings.

  • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Friday September 03, 2010 @10:29AM (#33465138)

    Doesn't mean its okay to splash the stuff around now.

    Actually it might. It is cost prohibitive (and quality of life prohibitive) to attempt to live in a 100% efficient manner. There will always be boundaries in which there is flexibility.

    Heating and cooling are orders of magnitude greater than pocket electronics in terms of power consumption. To put it bluntly, you would need to charge your cell phone 300-400 times in order to match running your Air Conditioner for 1 hour.

    I'd say that gives cell phones some wiggle room in the charging efficiency category. The reason why cell phones require so little power is by virtue of the fact that they are designed to be portable, and available for the entire day (or days). Televisions, DVD players, and game consoles which COULD benefit from more power efficiency (in terms of 'green') don't do so because they currently don't need to.

    As a result, worrying about cell phones is just, pardon the pun, wasted energy. Their efficiency puts them so low on the energy impact scale that I probably wasted more energy typing up this post on a regular computer than my cell phone consumed playing back music at the same time.

    Cell phones have a natural check to energy wastefullness that other electronic products do not have. That check is that they MUST be portable, and therefore efficiency is ALWAYS a high concern of the designers. This means that they will likely always at the bottom of any list of household power consumers. Even if the chargers become less efficient, the cell phone itself will not really require enough power to make us worry about it.

    The 'waste' you are worried about is like worrying about waste energy when you walk out your front door and the AC is running. Yes, there is loss, but with respect to things we can actually worry about without impacting our quality of life, it is inconsequential.

Power corrupts. And atomic power corrupts atomically.

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