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Old 01-21-2005, 11:09 PM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Universal wireless charging: the Splashpower solution

Never again carry a charger with you when you travel, where the whole world, whether it's an airport lounge in Tokyo, a coffee shop in New York City or a hotel in Stockholm, uses the same solution. Simply pick up your cell phone, your MP3 player, or your PDA, drop it on a pad, and it'll automatically charge! Just a dream?

Founded in June 2001 by two Cambridge U engineering students, Lily Cheng and James Hay, Splashpower Ltd. is trying to make this dream of every gadget freak come true. Their solution: Wireless power recharging.

The Splashpower technology comprises two parts:

1) the SplashModule power receiver: a sub-millimeter thin receiver module that can be customized to just about any size, shape or curve of a mobile device and makes no visible impact to product appearance.

2) the SplashPad charging base: a thin wireless charging platform the size of a mouse pad that plugs into any electric outlet and can be built into any surface (for instance cars, desks, airplane tables), with in-built protection from over-voltage.

Any device fitted with a SplashModule instantly begins to recharge through magnetic inductive power transfer when placed anywhere on the SplashPad. Multiple devices can be charged simultaneously on a single SplashPad.

The company has been promising the commercial launch of its technology for the past three years. A series of recently filed patents may indicate that Splashpower technology is finally ready to march:

Portable electrical or electronic devices for use in inductive power transfer systems (GB2399230)
Inductive power transfer system having areas with horizontal field (GB2399229)
A distributed primary inductive power transfer area with uniform coupling to one or more secondary power receiving devices (GB2399228)
Simultaneous inductive power transfer system to multiple devices (GB2399227)
Inductive power transfer system with moving field (GB2399226)
Inductive power transfer system having a horizontal magnetic field (GB2399225)
Electrical power transfer using inductive coupling (GB2398176)
Adapting portable electrical devices to receive power wirelessly (WO2004055654)
Improvements relating to contact-less power transfer (WO2004038888)
Improvements relating to automatically configuring rechargable devices (WO2004038887)
Improvements relating to retention of rechargable devices (WO2004030176)
Power transfer between devices (GB2392024)
Improvements relating to the transfer of electromagnetic power (WO03096361)
Contact-less power transfer (US2003210106)
Contactless power transfer area (GB2388716)

According to Slashpower, the company is already working hand in hand with mobile phone and portable device manufacturers and it expects to see the first mobile products incorporating Splashpower technology before the end of the year.

Perhaps it is just me, but I cannot wait to get rid of my hopelessly tangled collection of recharging cords that accumulates in my drawer

[image sources: patents, NewScientist]
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Old 01-21-2005, 11:35 PM   #2
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Very, very interesting...

And don't talk to me about messes of cables... >.> I can never, no matter HOW hard I try, get my power cables, firewire cables, USB cables, etc. to look neat... And believe me, I have tried... Maybe I should try something to tie bunches of cables together... Hmm...

But, offtopic. From my limited knowledge of electricity, the theory behind this wireless power is very interesting. Although, again from my limited knowledge, unless it's done properly it could be dangerous...
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Old 01-22-2005, 10:31 AM   #3
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This is the same technology that rechargeable shavers and toothbrushes have used for several years now... induction.

There are several small problems with this, the first being that it still requires wires!

The other small problem is that they can't possibly monitor over-voltage accurately, unless the "pad" has specific zones to put devices on, or the "client" component that attaches to the device to be charged, has that logic built into it (i.e. increasing its size).

I think its a great idea, but we really should think about putting these things into the wall wiring, so they're constantly trickle-charged when they're nearby. Toasters, coffee makers, toothbrushes, shavers, laptops, pdas, cellphones, etc.

The other natural place for this (increasing cost, of course) is on the airline tray tables. Just lay your pda and cellphone there on the table to charge, while you work on your laptop (trickle-charging that, assuming it can be charged while powered on).

Its a great idea, lets see it expand into other non-technology areas to be fully embraced. This, coupled with better battery technology (say, 1 month between charges) would greatly free us from wires.
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Old 01-23-2005, 01:43 PM   #4
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poor Idea

If you notice the cord is still on the coffee table, even more in the way than a phone power cord.

Now by the time you get this technology most of you will be married and have kids. Do you want a powered coffee table around where your kid drools?

You're probably thinking (hey, it says it won't hurt me), but try convincing your crazy mother in law that.
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Old 01-24-2005, 06:49 AM   #5
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Free power

Great idea to beat having too many charges in the one area, maybe this is a step forward in universal power supplies - won't the manufacturers hate that!

It would also be great if these devices could pick up of any EM field strong enough - like those living close to high voltage lines. You could even stand close to the microwave when the batteries on your mobile are running low!
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Old 01-27-2005, 03:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirper
Great idea to beat having too many charges in the one area, maybe this is a step forward in universal power supplies - won't the manufacturers hate that!
I am sure they would Don't we feel sorry for them?
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Old 03-04-2005, 06:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hacker
There are several small problems with this, the first being that it still requires wires!
Well, certainly it still requires a wire to operate the pad (unless it's built into your desk or some such), but one wire where you previously required half a dozen seems like a significant improvement. Not to mention that you no longer half to find the right plug, or even take the time to wonder whether you need to plug in or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hacker
The other small problem is that they can't possibly monitor over-voltage accurately, unless the "pad" has specific zones to put devices on, or the "client" component that attaches to the device to be charged, has that logic built into it (i.e. increasing its size).
If you look at the pics that Alex posted, you will see that, indeed, the power rectification has moved inside the device, so you do increase the electronics required by the device. But those components will quickly grow extremely small once this becomes commonplace.

It'll be a while before this is adopted, certainly. And it won't be terribly convenient if just one company adopts it. It'll need to be pretty well spread around to be really useful.

I wonder how strong that magnetic field is. Will it strip off the magnetic strip on my credit card? What about my flash memory cards? (Are those even affected by magnetism?) And it is just one more of the weird electromagnetic fields that alter our bodies in ways we won't understand for another 50 years. Still, this sort of innovation is pretty inspiring.
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Old 07-20-2005, 06:28 PM   #8
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Line cord induction

I'm looking for something similar to splashpower. I need to generate 3-5vdc, 400ma from a clamp around a powercord. This involves the need to power an accessory medical device without introducing another cord. Anyone seen anything like this.....or tell me what to look for.
Thanks
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Old 04-02-2007, 05:41 PM   #9
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Have you seen these 2 sites:

www.poweroverwireless.com
www.poweroverethernet.com
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Old 04-02-2007, 05:46 PM   #10
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Nice sites, justlukeyou, thanks -- it'll take a while to really dig into them. And welcome to MobileRead, BTW.
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