Wireless power
January 14th, 2007

At the bottom of his story at the end of his coverage of the Computer Electronics Show, Washington Post writer Rob Pegoraro finely found some sparks. The column, called ‘Improving Instead of Inventing’ had belabored the lack of blockbusters for the coming year. He wrapped up with:

It was only after a couple of days of roaming the show floor that I found two genuinely fascinating, never-seen-before exhibits. Both could legitimately claim to be the stuff of science fiction — wireless power. And both came from tiny companies located far from the stereotypical hot spots of innovation.

Powercast, of Ligonier, Pa., had an exhibit tucked away in a Philips exhibit hall of its technology, which can beam electrical power to devices three feet away. To recharge over the air, a device needs a tiny circuit board, about the size of a pinky toenail, that should only cost a few dollars.

The eCoupled system developed by Fulton Innovation of Ada, Mich., is more plugless than wireless. It flows power into any compatible device touching a charging surface — a phone left on a car’s armrest, a smart phone dropped on a cradle, a kitchen appliance on the counter. The company says the first eCoupled-compatible products should arrive in 2007.

The future of electronics remains an unfinished puzzle after this year’s CES, but one thing seems certain: If next year’s show has a room where journalists can recharge their laptops and cellphones wirelessly instead of fighting over the last power outlet, the company responsible for that service will not be hurting for press coverage.

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