Wireless Power: Too Much $$$, but One Promising Update

Mari Silbey —  January 6, 2010

Case-Mate Hug Hero Fulton eCoupled wireless power

Wireless power options continue to improve, but I’m still not wild about spending money for a charging mat and a gadget case. It helps that prices are coming down, but even the latest entrant from Case-Mate – an iPhone/iPod solution called the Hug – still costs $89.99. And money is only part of the problem as far as I’m concerned. I don’t love the idea of having to use a mat at all, which is why I’m excited about the latest tech from Texas Instruments and Fulton Innovation.

TI and Fulton are working on a contactless charging system. It involves a transmitter, receiver, and “associated magnetics,” and the companies are offering a development kit to gadget designers that want to test it out. The bqTESLA Contactless Charging Evaluation Kit will cost $250 and will be available “by the end of Q1.” TI and Fulton will also have a demo on hand at CES, and I will definitely check it out if I can make the schedule work. The solution is based on Fulton’s existing eCoupled technology, which I took a look at during last year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

UPDATE: I made the mistake of assuming that contactless meant the gadget and charging station would not need to make contact. Sadly, that’s not the case. Fulton and TI are referring to metal contacts, which are not required. The gadget and charging mat here still need to touch. More to come on this front  later.

2 responses to Wireless Power: Too Much $$$, but One Promising Update

  1. It sound similar to the Palm Pre Touchstone charger.

    Is there any software/firmware/OS side to these systems? With the Pre, it’s behavior is a little different when on the Touchstore charger. One way is that it’ll auto answer when you pick up a ringing Pre off the charger. There’s some others, too, but I don’t remember them now.

  2. I notice they incorporated Tesla’s name into the product. I hope it doesn’t come with the annoying buzzing sound of a Tesla coil…