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'Wire-free' electricity juices mobile devices

By Matt Berger, IDG News Service
October 29, 2002 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - A company that claims to have solved the "last wire" dilemma announced yesterday that it's working with Acer Inc. and other manufacturing partners to deliver early next year a pad with a conductive surface that can power computing devices resting on top of it as if they were plugged into an electrical outlet.
The last-wire dilemma refers to the power adapters that juice computing devices, which remain one wire that can't be replaced by existing wireless technologies such as Bluetooth and 802.11. MobileWise Inc. in Los Altos, Calif., yesterday previewed its "wire-free" electricity technology that could cut loose mobile device owners from their power cords.
An early design of the technology looks something like a thick rubber place mat. Metal "connectivity points" span the surface of the pad and are responsible for delivering power to laptop computers, cell phones or other devices that make contact with the surface. A single pad can power any number of devices that fit on top.
Its potential uses are diverse, said MobileWise CEO Andy Goren, who demonstrated the technology. One obvious benefit is that a pad, which has a single power cord that plugs into the wall, could replace the multitude of power supplies required for individual devices that fit on its surface.
"All these different wires are getting replaced all the time by wireless technologies," he said. "The last problem that has remained is with the power supply."
Grown out of a concept devised by company founders, which include former executives from Palm Inc. and Motorola Inc., the technology is nearly ready for release. Taipei, Taiwan-based computer and handheld device maker Acer has committed to releasing a number of next-generation mobile computing devices in the first half of next year that will ship with a wire-free power supply based on MobileWise's technology, said Acer Chief Technology Officer Arif Maskatia, who attended yesterday's unveiling.
The company wouldn't disclose which devices will first ship with electricity pads. However, the demonstration featured Acer's soon-to-be-released TravelMate Tablet PC.
South Korea-based Samsung Corp. has also announced a partnership agreement with MobileWise to use the technology in future products, as have RF Technology Inc. in Norwalk, Conn., and Hanrim Electronics Industries Co. in South Korea, which will produce the pads for device makers.
The base is safe to human contact and emits no harmful radiation, the company said. It will distribute power only to devices placed on top of it that include a special microchip developed by MobileWise that sends information to the pad, such as how many watts are required to power the device. That means

Reprinted with permission from Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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