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Power Technology

Haier Plans To Embed Area Wireless Chargers In Home Appliances 61

Lucas123 writes Haier has signed a development agreement with Energous, a maker of the WattUp wireless charging router. Haier plans incorporate the technology in appliances allowing enabled mobile devices and wearables to take a charge at up 15 feet away. The white goods maker is expected to come out with the enabled appliances in the next 14 months or so. The WattUp router uses radio frequency (RF) transmissions to send up to 4 watts of power in a 15-ft. radius. Within 5 feet of a WattUp wireless router, a mobile device can be charged at the same rate as if it were plugged into a wall socket, but as the distance increase the charging capability dissipates. For example, at a range of 5-to-10 feet, charging capability drops to 2 watts per device and at 10-to-15 feet, the router puts out 1 watt per device (4 watts total). Pleasanton, Calif.-based Energous raised nearly $25 million when it went public earlier this year. Its chief marketing officer said the company has joint development agreements in the works with battery makers, smartphone sleeve and wearable device manufacturers. Haier hasn't disclosed what products it plans to enable with wireless charging.
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Haier Plans To Embed Area Wireless Chargers In Home Appliances

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  • by chinton ( 151403 ) <chinton001-slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Monday October 27, 2014 @11:10AM (#48241349) Journal
    I hope it isn't the same one used by Daystrom...
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @11:14AM (#48241377) Homepage

    So, I might have my fridge and my freezer and my washing machine emitting power on the off-beat chance that a device is nearby which needs it? Am I going to be using more power to broadcast it when it's not needed? If so, this is incredibly stupid.

    Yay! Let's all spent more for our appliances and pay higher electrical bills so that our fridge could be standing by to charge our cell phones.

    Is a frigging charger that had to navigate that we need out fscking applilances just beaming power just in case?

    I'm sorry, but the entire idea of this sounds pretty stupid to me.

    Oh, but it's fridge 3.0, it's supposed to be connected to the interweb and be a hotspot for my @%$^$# phone. I don't see much value in this product for me.

    Now get off my fscking lawn, you kids and your dancy do-dads and whirly-mahoozitzes. This is just technology for the sake of it.

    • by CreatureComfort ( 741652 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @11:28AM (#48241515)
      How about having your can opener/coffee maker/etc. with a battery to wirelessly charge and not have to have cords all across your counters? How about LED under counter lights that don't need cords, or electric plugs?

      I can think of a dozen good uses for this. Now whether it's worth the end cost is a debatable subject.

      Ideally, the charge transmitter and charge receiver should have a built in short range communications path, and the transmitter would only turn on when it received a request, and then would turn off once the receiver indicated it was full.
      • by AchilleTalon ( 540925 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @12:50PM (#48242773) Homepage

        I don't believe you can run your coffee maker on 4 W, neither your toaster, these appliances are power hungry. Unless you wish to be cooked by your wireless thingy there is no hope to take rid of these power cables in a foreseeable future.

        Average power consumption table [absak.com]

        This thing is good only for smartphones, tablets or slowly recharge a laptop battery. Even LED ligths are starting at 5 W to 60 W. There is a lot of unrealistic expectations here.

        • Yeah, you cant run any of those things directly, which is why its "Wireless Charger" not "Wireless Power".
          Sure, the toaster and coffee maker is a poor example, but a string of LED lights that is not on 24/7 could easily have a battery that could run them for several hours, and be topped off by the wireless charger while turned off. (like say, during the 8 or so hours your out of the house) Personally, I would love that, because there is no practical way to route power to where my cabinets are at, and unde
        • by kesuki ( 321456 )

          if from 5 feet away a device will charge up 4 watts... and that equals 152 cm radius... and we assume device is 1 cubic centimeter then. 152Ã--2Ã--3.14Ã--4=3818.24 watts because the device uses an omnidirectional antenna (i assume as gps forwarded directional masers fine microwave lasers aren't being used) is more expensive and can no longer charge all devices in range. of course a projected cylindrical formed antenna drops power use in half, but still 2000 watts to drive a 4 watt device caus

          • by kesuki ( 321456 )

            i see that the multiply signs got garbled. 152 cm x 2 x 3.14 x 4 watts = 3818.24 watts. i think i made a mistake and it really needs a second 3.14 multiply to make it spherical instead someone correct my maths if possible. this is why wireless energy never took off.

          • by kesuki ( 321456 )

            i checked a few sources and got the math right. the surface area of an omnidirectioanl transmission sphere (like old radio towers prior to directional antennas that literaly half the power consumption) is 4 times pi times radius times radius. which means 4 watts at 152 cm assuming a 1 square cm rectenna is some 290,333 square cm or 1,161,332 watts assuming that all the math is right only google helped me and i wasn't sure if i needed to square root the surface area to get square cms or not. in case i did it

      • How about having your can opener/coffee maker/etc. with a battery to wirelessly charge and not have to have cords all across your counters?

        Do you have any idea how much power a can opener or (especially) a coffee maker can require under load?

      • coffee maker? not likely, as it would need a fairly hefty battery to work then [as it sucks up 1500-1700W @ 110V for 20min or so]
        can opener? maybe [very short use, but again, needs a battery to provide the power needed]
        permanently fixed lights? stupid.

        But the real thing is that it is inherently inefficient. It's like running the hot water tap 24/7 just a little because you hate waiting for it to get hot.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yep. When I want a washing machine, I want a washing machine... a device that washes/rinses/spins clothes dry. I don't want a wireless charging appratus (which wastes energy.) I don't want another trivial-to-hack Internet enabled device [1], nor do I want to be microwaved (I rather not have cataracts.) If I want a charger, I can pay some cash and get one that goes on a special circuit in my house which powered from a couple AGM batteries so low-drain devices are not hitting my electric bill.

      To boot, wir

    • In theory, it could send out low-power pulses and check for reflections from antennas, then only go to full power if there is a nearby device that could use it.

      • I think the article eluded to this, that there would be some communication between the device and router before the charging began. I am a bit skeptical about putting this into large appliances like the fridge, however putting this into the base of a desk lamp might work well. That being said it would probably just be better mounted on the wall, or better yet, inside the wall out of view, hardwired into house power.

    • Maybe not in the home... but think about public spaces. Put a few of these in a hotel lobby and everyone traveling through there can get a charge.

      What about at Airports? Put one in the middle of each waiting area and all the passengers get a charge.

      How about meeting rooms at companies?

      Not too mention restaurants (Starbucks?)...

      There are tons of places where lots of people congregate and they would appreciate getting a "top up" on the their batteries.

      This is not a question of "if" only of "when"... and the

      • ...and dangerous. Especially in public places. How does this RF radiation affect things like pacemakers.

    • by hedgemage ( 934558 ) on Monday October 27, 2014 @12:12PM (#48242039)
      I really want to hear some numbers to inform me how efficient this is. I am not a EE or physicist, so I'm having a hard time seeing how this could be efficient in any way.
      Wouldn't wireless charging in this sense, even if it was initiated by the target device, result in a lot of wasted power? If a transmitter is beaming out power it wouldn't all be 'captured' by a device needing to be charged, would it?
      Isn't this similar to filling a glass of water by setting it on your front lawn and turning on the sprinklers? Yes the glass will fill, but in the process, a lot of water has been broadcast to places where the glass wasn't there to receive it.
      • If power is transmitted using near-field methods such as the direct inductive coupling used in RFID, most cell phone wireless chargers, and electric toothbrush chargers then the power transmission is coupled directly to the recipient device, and if the device is removed and the transmitter is still running then very little power is radiated away. This is potentially quite efficient. If you use far-field transmission then power is being radiated away whether a device is there to receive it or not. In orde

    • by mspohr ( 589790 )

      So you make an assumption on how it works (i.e. continuously broadcasting energy) and then go off on a rant.
      First, basic electricity: Continuously broadcasting power without a load (receiver) doesn't waste much power... think of a transformer with no connected load.
      Second, the QI system (and this, also) doesn't broadcast power until there is a load connected. They broadcast a short pulse looking for a load and only broadcast power when the load is connected.
      Third, I'm probably older than you and still not a

      • The transformer/load analogy does not hold water. This is not a closed electrical circuit, you are radiating energy in space via radiowaves. Hence, you are dissipating energy whether or not there is an antenna to pick the signal. If the emitted signal is omni-directional, you are likely to waste much energy while charging you gizmo if you want a 4W signal at 15 ft.

        There is a lot of bullshit around the wireless power transmission. I even met people thinking they could transmit electricity Africa wide without

      • They claim to use far-field power transmission (i.e. radiated power) rather than near field inductive coupling. The transformer analogy only works for near-field transmission but it tends to be difficult to get range. Far-field will be radiating power all over the place.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Given the very limited ranges, they have to be talking about microwaves.

    Gee, everybody, put your hands up if, like me, your router is within 3 feet of where you sit! Good, you'll now be bathed with a MUCH higher power level of microwaves.

    And think of the growing health benefits. Why, you'll feel "charged up" yourself. No more need for those 5 hour energy drinks!

    I look forward to putting a hot dog onto my router, so I can eat lunch without having to leave my desk. And think of the popcorn I can make whil

    • Given the very limited ranges, they have to be talking about microwaves.

      Gee, everybody, put your hands up if, like me, your router is within 3 feet of where you sit! Good, you'll now be bathed with a MUCH higher power level of microwaves.

      And think of the growing health benefits. Why, you'll feel "charged up" yourself. No more need for those 5 hour energy drinks!

      I look forward to putting a hot dog onto my router, so I can eat lunch without having to leave my desk. And think of the popcorn I can make while at my desk!

      Don't forget your never-goes-cold coffee

      • Don't forget your never-goes-cold coffee

        And, as an added benefit, we might give evolution a kick start into our next phase of existence.

        I've always felt we could use an least one more limb.

  • reviewer 1: works well to charge ipad, cellphone, and ensure carkeys glow cherry red.
    reviewer 2: dresser charges cellphone quickly, washing machine bricks laptops in a jiffy
    reviewer 3: washing machine wiped credit cards and screwed up my bluetooth carkey. Excellent feature to ensure laundry gets done.
    • reviewer 3: washing machine wiped credit cards and screwed up my bluetooth carkey. Excellent feature to ensure laundry gets done.

      To be fair, a washing machine can already do this. You just have to forget to take the key out of your pocket when you do laundry.

  • Wireless charging schemes are totally awesome, because I am heavily invested in Texas and Arab Oil.

    If you are a non-billionaire, remember profligate waste is super patriotic, and be sure to do your part! For AMERICA! (Or for the heathen foreign ideals of your benighted snail-eating nation, should you not be American.)

    If you're a billionaire, I'll see you at the club later. Today we're using Tea Party congressmen as ponies for the polo match, and later we're having naked petroleum jelly wrestling featurin

  • Wouldn't it be more cost effective to build your house underneath a high voltage power line [snopes.com]?
  • by koan ( 80826 )

    Seems like a bad idea, for health reasons and various other reasons.

    Will just have to wait and see.

    • There's no need to wait and see. This idea is foo'd up for all the same reasons that HAM radio operators have a statistically significant [oxfordjournals.org] higher incident of cancer [lww.com]. Why [nih.gov] everyone is racing to drop the broadcast power [ucsd.edu] of cellphones. And, why putting your head in the microwave is generally considered a bad idea.

      Are you going glow green, set off radiation detectors at airports, or erupt in blisters and boils? No, but just because it isn't ionizing radiation doesn't mean its harmless.

      • "HAM radio operators have a statistically significant higher incident of cancer."

        You seem to be selective in your interpretation of the data. From the second link:

        "Among men, there were 14,630 deaths (SMR = 0.73 (95% CI = 0.71-0.74)) and among women, 760 (SMR = 0.72 (0.67-0.78)). There were 4,007 cancer deaths among males (SMR = 0.79 (0.76-0.81)) and 289 among females (SMR = 0.82 (0.72-0.92))."

        Standardized mortality ratios (SMR) smaller than one for cancer mean that there are fewer cancer deaths among radio

  • Everyone is assuming that these things will just sit there spewing out power 24/7, but I have to believe that we can figure out some sort of handshake so that these are only throwing out power when there is a valid device within range.
    It doesn't say anything about that in the article, which seems odd, but I think we are only talking about the power loss from inefficient transfer (which is not insignificant), not continuous output.

    Can anyone confirm?
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    Is this how it will work?
    Does it pop corn too?

  • You have got to be kidding. What idiot MBA thought this idea up.

    What practical use case does it solve for the end user that a better antenna on the main router wouldn't solve?

  • Refrigerators aside, wireless charging within a 15 foot radius would be most welcome at the gates in airports, for example on the pillars between rows of seats. Usually there are too few outlets and a big tangle of wires strewn across walkways because everybody needs to recharge their stuff!

    The other extremely useful place for this would be in your car - the family is rolling down the road with about half a dozen tablets etc, all getting charged. Most people are in their car often enough that they'd nev

  • The WattUp router uses radio frequency (RF) transmissions to send up to 4 watts of power i..a mobile device can be charged at the same rate as if it were plugged into a wall socket

    What is truly amazing here is that this 4W charger can charge devices at the same rate as my 5 and 10 watt chargers! The last generation of phones use 5V 1A = 5 watt chargers, while new phones and tablets use 5V 2A = 10 watt chargers. So no, this 4 watt device won't charge them at the same rate.

    • "4W charger can charge devices at the same rate as my 5 and 10 watt chargers! The last generation of phones use 5V 1A = 5 watt chargers"

      That the charger is capable of delivering 5 W does not actually mean that the device will actually draw that amount. I have a dongle that measures the current and voltage of USB chargers and my smartphones rarely draw more than 0.8 A, and even then only if I use a low-resistance cable with a battery below 80%. Cables that are long enough to reach comfortably from the floor

  • For some reason I thought that Haier was the typical race-to-the-bottom appliance manufacturer that peddles short-lived, underengineered crap. I expect that the UX of this "innovation" will be a trainwreck. Why is this news?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    At 4 watts delivered to up to 4 devices at the same time, there has to be at least 16 watts radiated power. At the specified frequency of 5.6-5.8 MHz, or a wavelength of about 52 meters, devices charging at the full 4 watt rate are within 5 feet or 1.5 meters, or about 3% of a wavelength. This is a near-field coupled RF system, so it behaves a bit like a transformer. The efficiency will be very sensitive to relative orientation of the charger and load, and to proximity of other large metal objects, espec

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