What is Wireless Power?

Anyone who attends a class or meeting where most of the participants have laptop computers is well aware that there are never enough power outlets—and when they are available, they are invariably located in inconvenient places. Wireless power, already being prototyped by several companies, promises to alleviate the problem by making power for charging batteries in devices readily available. Using near-field inductive coupling, power can be transmitted through special surfaces or even through open space to charge devices within a home, office, school, or other setting. Consumer products are already entering the market; the Powermat, for instance, charges up to three devices placed onto its surface (each device must first be slipped into a compatible sleeve). Fulton Innovation's eCoupled technology is designed to be built into desk- and countertops, enabling not only power transfer but other wireless communications between devices placed on the surfaces. Witricity is developing transmitters that would be embedded in walls or other furniture, transferring power via inductive coupling to receivers attached to devices anywhere within the home or classroom. The impact of wireless power for education will primarily be felt in learning spaces; the devices we carry will become more useful and easier to maintain, with increased opportunity for longer use in a variety of settings.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

    • 'Many phones are already equipped with Qi (wireless charging compatibilities)

      Many people already have Qi (pronounced 'chee') built into their phones and they don't even know it. Phones are being sold every day that have wireless charging capabilities hardwired in the device in anticipation for a huge market that is about to become mainstream. This mobile electrical power transfer makes phones able to wirelessly charge if they are within 1.6 inches of the charging station using electromagnetic induction. Already, huge electronics and smart phone manufacturers like LG, Nokia, Samsung and Sony have begun implementing the Qi standard.' http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/35811.asp#jAFOIUUabOFKi1pE.99
      Wireless charging will change not only the design of classroom but hopefully improve quality of student lives by not having to cart around chargers and battery packs.- mtaylor mtaylor Jan 28, 2014
  • This is when technology will become totally ubiquitous in the learning/teaching environment, allowing teachers and students to work as easily as they once did with pen and paper. It will continue to be a challenge in 3rd world countries, but requiring ongoing improvements in battery life to make wireless charging an enhancement. - judy.oconnell judy.oconnell Feb 8, 2014
  • I think the key will be battery life and device power requirements. This will eliminate the need to carry a cable, but the distance limitation still means that the charging station will have to be connected to a power source.- mike.jamerson mike.jamerson Feb 9, 2014
  • electrical power/charging is one of the major challenges facing schools that move to one-to-one or BYOD or more ubiquitous computing...therefore, IF we can get to wireless power, it will be a key movement forward. - keith.krueger keith.krueger Feb 9, 2014kkrueger 2028612676

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • This will minimise the Workplace Health & Safety issue of plugging the devices in to recharge whilst students move around a room. At my school power plugs are built into the floor rather than walls, this will definitely offer an improvement to our working and learning conditions. - FionaBanjer FionaBanjer Feb 9, 2014
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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