Nicola Tesla proposed the theory of wireless power transmission in the late 1800s and, in the early 1900s, he wirelessly powered lighting fixtures at his lab. Today, you can see how his idea has progressed at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry at a smart home exhibit, which is open through Jan. 9, 2011. There, wireless power has been incorporated into a kitchen counter surface to demonstrate how an 800-watt blender and an LED fan can be powered without cords or plugs.

The exhibit is a collaboration between the museum, Wired magazine and Fulton Innovation and features Fulton’s eCoupled technology.
“We are thrilled to work with the Museum of Science and Industry and Wired to showcase how eCoupled technology gives us the ability to eliminate the tangle of power cords in the kitchen,” said Dave Baarman, director of advanced technologies for Fulton Innovation. “Research has shown that consumers are expecting wireless power to be built directly into the kitchen environment, creating a convenient, efficient, universal solution.

By leveraging the physics of near-field inductive coupling and combining it with communications and control properties, eCoupled technology allows for optimization of power transfers at high efficiencies under multiple, varying spatial configurations and load conditions from low to high power. Power and data can be efficiently transmitted to virtually any electrical device without cords, connectors or contact points. This allows different devices of different brands requiring different power needs to share a single power source, thereby creating an interoperable solution at energy costs comparable to hard-wired connections.

Through this advanced identification protocol, eCoupled technology adapts its operation to match the needs of each device it powers by communicating with it in real time. It determines the power needs and also factors in battery or device age and charging lifecycles. It provides only the power necessary to keep a device at peak efficiency.

Additionally, the technology authenticates any device within range. If a device or object is not immediately recognized as compatible, the power source will not supply power to it, thereby maintaining a safe operating environment. eCoupled technology has been validated by standards organizations in 36 countries for safety, electromagnetic compatibility and other international performance criteria.

Just as wireless mobile has revolutionized telecommunications, we may be on the threshold of seeing the disappearance of many power cords.