Imagine an office with no cords and wires to clutter your desk or clog your power strips, one where you can simply put your cell phone down on a special pad or set your laptop on your desk and your device will automatically charge with literally no strings or cords attached. This office of the future is not a fantasy. It’s become a reality with the emergence of wireless power, a concept that has finally been realized and is poised to forever change the way we live our lives and work.
Wireless power works with devices that create an electromagnetic conduit for electricity to travel through, eliminating the need for cords and wires as with traditional electrical currents. Wireless power can be used to charge virtually any device and will safely charge only the devices it is compatible with. The technology is even smart enough to adjust to the specific energy needs of each device, so everything that is enabled to receive wireless power will get a safe charge.
Some companies, such as WildCharge, provide a small pad or mat that mobile devices such as cell phones, PDAs, and headsets can be placed on to charge. These charging pads are universal adapters that will power a wide range of mobile devices and allow you to charge up to four devices simultaneously. They also come in several sizes so they can be used in the office or on the road. The downside of these charging pads is that they require you to attach a small wireless adapter to the mobile device in order to charge, which takes just as much effort as plugging the device into a power cord. This extra effort is minimized if you purchase a special skin or case with a built-in receiver that always stays on the device.
Other companies, such as Powermat and eCoupled, are integrating this mat technology on a larger scale by embedding these mats or “hot spots” under surfaces such as desktops, countertops, and walls, so they aren’t visible. This means you can power up and charge your laptop plus any other enabled device, such as cell phone, mouse, printer, speakers, and so on, simply by placing them on your desk and sliding them over the contact points. No more crouching under your desk to organize wires and power cords. You could even mount a TV or a computer screen on your wall without ugly wires hanging down. In the near future, you will be able to turn your entire desk or any other surface in your home or office into a wireless power source, eliminating the need to find contact points.
As convenient as this is for the office, consider the significance this will have for mobile employees. eCoupled, for example, promises powered cup holders and other hot spots throughout the car that will allow you to charge your phone, PDA, removable global positioning system, mobile PC, and other mobile devices wire-free. This means you’ll never be stuck on the road again with a powerless device, and you’ll gain freedom from a cluttered car full of wires.
Many of these wireless power sources are already available at reasonable prices, so research the options that will work best for you. It’s only a matter of time until power cords join typewriters as an archaic symbol of a bygone office.