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Changing the Batteries: Wireless Power in the Home

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 10:44am
Dianne Kibbey, Global Head of Community, element14

Wireless power isn’t just about reducing the amount of cords in the world. It’s about increasing the capability of wirelessly powered devices. Another growing segment where innovations in wireless technology can be of benefit is in home entertainment and electronics, where the issue of batteries really rise to the forefront.

Think of the number of devices in your home that are battery-operated: remote controls for TVs, Hi-Fi systems and games consoles, children’s toys and in some cases even electronic toothbrushes, razors and hairdryers.

That is a lot of technology that can at any time run out of power, leaving you at the mercy of the old ‘turn the batteries around’ trick and searching for a few lucky spares hiding in the back of a drawer somewhere. Thankfully, we’ve seen some great ideas of practical solutions to battery-operated equipment.

Future-Proof Power

Hendrik Lipka and Martin Puig from Germany have both addressed wireless power in the home, with a charger station and wireless power solution for battery-operated toys and television remotes.

In his project, Hendrik Lipka aims to add wireless power to his son’s night light by designing a wireless power solution for his snowplough toy, which is powered by 8 AA battery cells, resulting in up to 12V of power. The challenge for him is to find a way to wirelessly produce the equivalent power value and make the AA batteries rechargeable.

Martin Puig is tackling the remote control market, focusing initially on his TV and looking to solve the problem of getting stuck on one channel when the batteries run out.

If successful in developing a wireless power solution and charging station for remote controls, Martin could help pave the way for similar alternatives to other types of remote control. It’s music to the ears of Hi-Fi enthusiasts and gamers everywhere.

Looking beyond TVs and toys, we have seen through our wireless power challenge are designs for wirelessly charged robotic vacuum cleaners, wireless power bases to charge smoke alarms, doorbells and telephones that can all change the way we live and maintain our homes.

With so much innovation in household devices, it seems strange that we’re still relying on turning around batteries to get things to work. Wireless power is now a viable solution and one that companies will soon start to embrace.

For more information visit element14.com.

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