Wireless charging to go mainstream in 2010, maker says

By Eric Lai, Computerworld |  Hardware, batteries, wireless charger

This well-known "vampire effect" doesn't happen with Fulton's inductive chargers, he said.

The Dell laptop's wireless charger turns off completely when an infrared-based controller signals that the battery is full or the laptop is off, Lewis said. Fulton's chargers can use other "pinging" technology to turn charging systems off.

Taking all of that into account, Lewis said that Fulton's charging systems today (download white paper) are "already equal or slightly more efficient" than plug-charging systems.

Inductive charging systems also do not hurt electrical components in devices or laptops, Lewis said. Not only is the energy too weak to harm people, he said, it also eliminates the risk of electrical shocks present from cable-based power.

"This is the same technology as your wireless toothbrush. We don't think there are any stray fields that will harm you or your devices," he said.

The company, which also partners with Energizer Battery Inc., is a leading member of the Wireless Power Consortium, which is trying to draw up standards for charging low-power devices (8 to 10 watts) such as cellphones.

Lewis acknowledged there is no standards group for medium-power devices such as laptops, or high-power devices such as kitchen appliances or electric cars. The electric cars could eventually be recharged by simply parking them over a special pad-equipped parking space while the driver is at work or a meeting, he said.

He added, however, that the lack of standards bodies could slow the realization of universal, interchangeable wireless power charging stands that are as omnipresent as wall plugs.

"When we still can't figure out whether to put the gas cap on the right or left side of the car, there's a reason to be skeptical" about universal power standards quickly emerging, he said.

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