• Jan 8, 2009
Click above to view a high-res gallery of eCoupled photos

You've probably heard of wireless battery charging technology, but soon you might just see it showing up in your car. Fulton Innovation has teamed up with Leggett & Platt to bring eCoupled Intelligent Wireless Power Technology to your mobile phone, MP3 player, radar detector or just about anything else that needs electricity.

Instead of a web of snarled power cords, the eCoupled system charges any enabled gadget resting on the power pad. As in the illustration, enabled devices resting within range of the pad would be juiced up just as if they were plugged in.

Bret Lewis, director of Fulton Innovation, gave us a demo of the eCoupled system Wednesday night. Fulton had outfitted an iPhone and a Motorola Bluetooth headset with an eCoupled coil. Lewis took the two devices, laid them on a wooden bowl and, as if by magic, the two began to charge. The only indication the bowl was anything but dead tree was an electrical cord running from the back. Underneath, the bowl had been hollowed to accommodate a metal plate with the coil inductor. The same type system could easily be incorporated into a car's console or instrument panel.

Ideally, Lewis says, gadget manufacturers would incorporate the technology into portable devices as they're designed. In the real world, of course, there are potentially billions of legacy devices that could benefit from a third-party attachment to allow the wireless batter charging.

But it gets better! Lewis says the system can also transfer data, potentially allowing wireless coupling of music players and mobile phones with you car.

We also spoke with Ross Haith Jr. of Leggett & Platt who let us in on some commercial vehicle projects they have ready to launch as soon as this year. Read about that as well as press releases from the two companies after the jump.


Live Photos Copyright ©2009 Chris Tutor / Weblogs, Inc.



Ross Haith Jr. of Leggett & Platt talked with us some about their involvement with the eCoupled technology. Haith says L&P is the leading supplier of commercial van shelving. So it just makes sense that their first experiment with wireless power would be charging power tools for workers out in the field.

To charge something like a cordless drill like the one above, a worker would only need to toss it into the eCoupled case. Then the tool would charge until the next use. No wires mean no tangled mess, as well as no plugs to wear out.

Which brings up another point that Lewis of Fulton pointed out: If eCoupled tech were adopted by an auto manufacturer, they could potentially do away with dozens or even hundreds of proprietary plugs. A replacement car stereo could plug into any car's dash with no adapters needed.

Haith said his company is currently talking with Texas Instruments to embed eCoupled system into future gadgets, and since L&P already works with several OEMs like Toyota, BMW and Ford, wireless power in your car could come soon.

Here are some excerpts from Fulton Innovation's press release...

eCoupled technology works based on the principle of resonant magnetic induction. Magnetic induction means that electricity travels via magnetic fields instead of conductive material. Wireless power has been used however inefficiently in one form or another since the days of Nicola Tesla in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Most electronics today use a power cord to transport power to the device's electronic circuits. From there, a transformer uses magnetic induction to form an inductive link that transfers power between the internal circuits. eCoupled technology simply replaces the conductive power cord with another inductive link.

Just like a transformer, eCoupled technology uses coils to transmit energy. One coil in the eCoupled power supply generates a magnetic field at a frequency that will resonate with a second coil in an eCoupled-enabled device. This resonant magnetic field causes electricity to be generated in a device with the second coil. One eCoupled-enabled power supply can power several compatible devices.

eCoupled technology is valuable because wireless power is a tremendous step forward in power supply/transfer for any industry and any application. In addition to the convenience of no more power cords, it will help make electronics more reliable, safer and more energy efficient.

eCoupled is different from other wireless power technologies in several ways. First of all, it's intelligent. eCoupled has a proprietary circuit design that makes sure power is supplied at the right time, and to the right devices. This also makes the device safe. If there is no eCoupled-enabled device present, no power is supplied. If there is an interfering object present, the power source shuts off automatically. If there is an eCoupled-enabled device present, but it is already fully charged or turned off, the same holds true-the power source shuts off. Its resonant magnetic field means that there is very little interference with mobile phones and other wireless devices. Additionally, eCoupled technology can transmit power at up to 98 percent efficiency- which is better than many AC adaptors.

As you can imagine, this also makes eCoupled technology safe. So safe, in fact, that it has been validated by standards organizations in 36 countries for safety, electromagnetic compatibility (noise) and other international performance criteria.

Finally, eCoupled technology is adaptable. It can power multiple devices at different levels and transmit data at up to 1.1 Mbps. It can supply power to devices from milliwatts to kilowatts (that's the difference between a cell phone and a frying pan).

Live Photos Copyright ©2009 Chris Tutor / Weblogs, Inc.


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  • 22 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      ETA 'til studies find it causes or accelerates some health problem like cancer?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Time to put your foil hats on!
      • 6 Years Ago
      How about one of these mats under the garage where one would normally park their Tesla? lol not going to happen any time soon but nice to know where technology is moving into. Heck you might have a number of these laid out on the highway payment and charge your electric car while you drive lol..
      • 6 Years Ago
      people have been working on this for years and nothing has come of it except charging your tooth brush. some other company got this to work on a razor but you have to stick this brick on your phone first to get it to work. this tech will be our in 5 to 10 years. I wish it was out now but i've been waiting for 3 years now and still nothing yet. Every year CES say's this or that company is going live in months and it never happens.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is AWESOME, with this I wouldn't need to carry the GPS and the cell phone chargers in my glove box. Two questions, how the eCoupled knows how much voltage each device must receive and how it sends x voltage to device 1 and y voltage to device 2, different electric fields?
        • 6 Years Ago
        This thing isn´t sending voltage, is inducing current from the coil in the charger to the special coil installed in the device to be charged. Like a transformer does. Once the current is induced and the device is full. It wont store more than the capacity of the battery.

        Cool idea, but whats the safety range considering for example in peacemakers in the range of the charger?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Methinks that the charging circuitry already inside the appliances (phones, ipods) regulates down the 12V coming from your cigarette lighter to the correct voltage. And also turns on and off the charging process to keep your batteries from bursting from an overcharge.
        • 6 Years Ago
        My question precisely.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I would assume its a standard output from the charger and the voltage will be regulated by the receiving unit. This is neat stuff.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Having worked on the tool charger as an intern (a year and a half ago) ... the charged device(battery pack in the case of the tools) has a microprocessor that holds the charging profile and it communicates via the coils to tell the charger how much current it needs.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Great idea, but what happens when you son spills his Coke or potato chips in the docking station. Please move it away from the cup holders.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Los avances más impresionantes se darán en en relación con la luz.
      La electricidad y los tan vanagloriados electrones perderán su poder bajo una nueva fuerza .
      • 6 Years Ago
      For being CES I find it weird that the devices in picture 3 are so (relatively) old.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is great, people are missing around with this technology as a way to charge cars or transmit power through walls but the loses are huge. For these low current devices that loss is perfectly acceptable.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Nice. I love useful technology.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The idea is great... but without a built-in coil you need to have some sort of external attachment to charge existing devices. Not that I dont like the idea, I just think it's full practicality will be reached when devices will have built in coils to support these charging stations. Also, I hope companies wont create conflicting standards that won't allow device A to charge on coil Z and device B to charge on coil X... I'm talking to you Sony and Apple!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      This really exists? I'll have two please!
      The Van Man
      http://www.vanlocator.co.uk
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