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IKEA introduces wireless charging furniture [pdf] (ikea.com)
279 points by danso on Apr 16, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 146 comments



Recurring question I've not heard answered: any issues between these wireless charging pads vs pacemakers? It's a subject rather close to my heart...


Because they're usually inductively coupled rather than RF coupled they shouldn't cause a problem I would think. They also have to detect a resonant coil near the primary before they'll output significant current because otherwise they'll heat up and burn out the primary coil. So while I wouldn't put the pace maker on top of one, I would think it wouldn't cause problems directly. The standard disclaimer here applies: I am not a doctor, I am not a lawyer, I am not an electrical engineer, This advice should not be taken by those with neck injuries, pregnant women, small children, the elderly, the living challenged, or immortal beings.


"Inductively coupled rather than RF coupled"? What's the difference?


He means coupled using a magnetic field (like a transformer) rather than using an electric field (like a transmitter).

They're related, to make things more complicated, see Maxwell.

http://galileoandeinstein.physics.virginia.edu/more_stuff/Ma...


It won't be catastrophic but it could affect them. Most pacemakers have a mode that if you put a magnet on them they revert to pacing at 60 beats per minute (VVI mode) like a metronome rather than more advanced adaptive modes (like DDD mode). That's how if a doctor suspects it's malfunctioning due to bad sensing they can get it into a basic mode. I've done it in the ER when a pacer was freaking out and going way too fast due to bad sensing.


That's exactly it. I couldn't think of the correct way to put it earlier and kept thinking of it like an open core transformer rather than an antenna.


pacemakers act up near high voltage power lines and transformers.

Most modern PM's are actually much more resistant to RF induction than one from strong magnetic fields mainly due to the saturation of the RF spectrum over the past 2 or so decades coupled with a decline in high voltage power in populated areas (they are underground as well as farther from residential areas these days).

That said I have no idea if the field those things generate is strong enough to create any issue with PM's or similar devices (like the "jump start" internal defibrillator some people are getting these days).

I would think that these devices are quite safe, especially considering that you see wireless charging station in courtesy area's in lobbies and other public places without any warning signs.


Actually, the health risks of wireless charging is still unknown without longitudinal studies. Are you sure you want this kind of devices at home where your kids can access it easily?


I wasn't talking about long term health risks like cellphones give you brain cancer and WiFi makes you blind.

But there are guidelines for certifying consumer electronics compatibility with medical devices is on that list.


Wouldn't the RF coupled version use a magnetic field as well, because the electric field is osciollating?

Seems like the difference is in how spatially localized the two are, and % magnetic power vs electric.

Presumably though there is probably some way to drive (or receive) the wireless charger in a dangerous way so you can microwave things from a distance :p


In "magnetic coupling", the bulk of the power transfer occurs due to strong mutual coupling between the antennas (eg. a transformer).

For electromagnetic, the waves are propagating (oscillating electric and magnetic moving through space) and the coupling between receiver and transmitter is weak (ie. loading the receiver has no effect on the transmitter).

Both are governed by Maxwell's Equations. Sometimes you'll hear these referred to as "near field" and "far field" -- though those definitions are nebulous in terms of modeling the coupling.


There is still strong mutual coupling in the near field if the coils are mutually resonant. The magnetic systems uses a ferrite core to concentrate the field, and these need to be well aligned to achieve high efficiency. These are ferrite based:

http://www.digikey.com/product-search/en/inductors-coils-cho...

The near field systems rely on both coils being within about one radius of one another, and the coils are typically self resonant, but the smaller you make the coil, the higher it's self resonance, thus it's efficiency is lower. That's the issue with resonant near field coupling, the small devices like phones limit the coil size, and efficiency. Near field demo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GransrkXd4


...or those with pacemakers? ;)


I'd hope that they would be current limited at a minimum, I can't see how IKEA would market something with such an easily remedied fatal flaw in it.


They usually are, but if you've got a receiving coil then you can put in a lot more energy before you begin heating up the primary coil. This is because with the other coil there it'll take in energy that would otherwise be turned into heat in the primary coil if you weren't draining it off. This means that if you can detect the presence of the device (usually by a change in the resonant frequency of your own coil I think is how they do it) then you know that it's safer to dump more energy into since it won't all be turned into heat.


No, you simply measure the current drain into the coil and when it hits a value that you associate with a magnetic short-circuit you limit the current to something very low until the short-circuit goes away. That way nothing gets hot.

http://pics.camarades.com/v/jacques/renewables/windmill/dscf...

See those laminates at the edges? They're 'open' for that same reason, that way the magnetic field goes through the coils rather than that it heats up the steel and generates waste heat.

(that's from a windmill I built, diameter is ~ 12").


Could you discriminate between receivers too, based on picking a particular resonant frequency for the whole system? Or is that how you have to do it to do it safely.


You end up with a resonant frequency simply because physics ends up dictating that there is one, and staying at it gives you the highest efficiency. That said it does mean that you can use it as a discrimination between devices/standards.


I googled around a bit, and I can find some experts expressing "concern"[0] about the topic but nobody seems to know definitively.

So I'd stay clear until we have a definitive source that has actually tested it to prove Qi chargers don't interfere with pacemakers. It isn't worth your life because some random poster on the internet told you there was nothing to worry about.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_charging#Electric_ve...


Yep that's my thought too. I don't see how it would affect it but it's easy enough to avoid them (for now anyway) so there's little reason to take an unnecessary risk.


Qi themselves mention that their technology is related to inductive coupling used to charge early pacemakers. Given that, I'd stay well away from these until I heard an opinion from a doctor.


Actually, that's a positive thought: deliberate usage of inductive coupling at very close range wasn't a problem to the rest of the device, to the point of such charging being included in the device.

The prime concern is that oscillating fields could interfere with the low-voltage low-current stimulus leads, inducing convulsions or worse. Secondary concern is overloading & frying the device.

I knew there was something I was going to ask my cardio doc a few days ago...we discussed potential problems with electric cars instead (user's manual is filled with "Warning! Pacemaker users stay away so we don't have to get this car medically certified!"-type notices).


I was in Ikea yesterday and we bought two nightstand lamps with integrated chargers. Did not even realize that yesterday was the first day they were on sale... (in Germany).

Unfortunately, they do not work reliably with my Nexus 4. After putting the phone on the charger it does start charging, but cuts off after a couple of seconds and the charger starts flashing its LED (which is supposed to indicate an error). The phone did not charge at all last night on the charger. I don't know if this is an issue with my Nexus 4, which is already bit beat up, or if there is some kind of incompatibility...

Anybody have any experience with these kind of wireless chargers? Are there compatibility issues?


I don't know if you're aware or not, but the charging location on the Nexus 4 is a little off-center, so if you centered it, that might be causing issues.

> Nexus 4: One inch (25mm) below the center of the phone

https://support.google.com/nexus/answer/6073618?hl=en


Thanks for tip! Did not help, unfortunately. It seems to connect only for a couple of seconds and then stops charging. After moving the phone a bit it will "reconnect", but again only for a short time. Alas, I do not have access to another phone with wireless charging capability to check where the problem is.


Thanks for this, I'll have to try it on the charging pad when I get home. We've always had trouble making sure our phones get on the right spot on the pad, which has a 1-2 second delay before lighting up to say "Charging!"


I had this same problem with an HTC 8X and a cheap off-brand charger I got from Amazon.

What was weird about it was that it would only repro on certain outlets - if I plugged it in on the other side of the room, it would work just fine. It also didn't repro with any other phones.

I would guess there was something else on the original circuit that was dirtying the power enough that the charger couldn't use it on certain phones - but I never did find the root cause.


FWIW, I have a Nexus 4 and saw basically the same symptoms with two different models of Qi chargers. The same chargers worked perfectly with other people's phones.

My guess is that either there's a serious design flaw in the Nexus 4's inductive charging, or it just has a very high defect rate.


I'm looking forward to when electronics are not "technology" and are just another material used in products. But for that to happen, the electronics have to be absolutely foolproof. Is a furniture manufacturer equipped to offer tech support?


Do you require tech support for your power strip? It has electronics in it.


To be foolproof, the device's function must be very simple, like that of a power strip or an electric kettle. (A microwave is already too complex for that.)

I suspect a wireless charger's function is simple enough to become foolproof. Wired chargers are mostly foolproof already.


Admittedly I am not familiar with all types of wireless charging technology, but I worked on some prototypes of such a little under 10 years ago (powering blenders and 1 kW cooking devices wirelessly through a countertop), and they were hopelessly complex and full of software. Perhaps my experience is now outdated, but it left me with strong doubts about any prospects for foolproof-ness.


My old Nexus 4 has been lunching itself recently. The degradation past the 2 year mark has been pretty shocking, and this is one of the many symptoms of its old age I've experienced, sadly.


Same here. I bought the desk lamp (needed a new one as well as the option to charge my N4). I have exactly the same problem as you do. It starts to charge, but after a few seconds the dim light on the lamp starts to blink and the phone stops charging.

I have tried to position the phone in various ways, but the result is always the same. Question now is: is the N4 flawed or is the Ikea QI flawed?


I don't know why, but I find this exciting. It makes me happy to know in the future that for smartphones we will not need to worry about building bigger and environment damaging batteries for our phones. Instead, you can go out and know that there'll most likely be a charger wherever you go.

The likes of Starbucks are already offering wireless charging, McDonald's is slowly rolling out wireless charging (currently only in the UK). Eventually almost everywhere you go there will be a charger. I think wireless charging is one of the more exciting things to happen in a while (even though the tech has been around for a long time).


I'm no expert on batteries, but won't constantly charging the phone battery after small discharges (While you go between places with chargers) cause it to die sooner?


Assuming modern battery charging technology and Li-* batteries, no, they would not last less than otherwise.

See https://www.apple.com/batteries/why-lithium-ion/ for example.


In laptops, the battery management system has the "stop charging" threshold higher than the"start charging" threshold. Probably the same in phones.

(You can tune these in ThinkPads, http://linrunner.de/en/tlp/docs/tlp-faq.html#battery)


The three leading wireless charging standards are Qi, Powermat, and A4WP.

IKEA is using Qi. Starbucks is using Powermat. Uh oh.

We're headed for a Blu-Ray/HD-DVD problem.


This problem's already solved. Qi is the standard.

Duracell Powermat is effectively just Qi with proprietary advertisement and tracking codes (light DRM) added on to it. As far as I can tell, it only exists because Duracell keeps throwing money at it.

This isn't a Blu-Ray/HD-DVD problem. It's more like a CD vs MiniDisc fight. Or a USB vs Lightning fight.


Duracell uses the PMA standard, which does have incompatible differences with Qi. Primarily the frequency of power transfer and the pairing/syncing logic.


What? Isn't that the same issue, they're incompatible with each other? So does Qi work with Powermat and vice versa?


They are incompatible. Up until recently, only Qi charging was available for phone. PMA was mostly supported by places like Starbucks offering wireless charging because it can track individual users. Samsung Galaxy S6 is the first phone to work with both Qi and PMA.


Thanks for quickly citing which standard they are using. It's the first thing I wondered when I saw the title. And that speaks precisely to your point: it is something I have already learned that I need to be mindful of whenever anyone says "X will come with a wireless charging pad."

If I were interested in this Ikea furniture (I can't say that I am, from the looks of it), I'd be happy since the phones in my household are both Nokias which use Qi. So I suppose I am on "Team Qi" and must naturally consider all of the competing standards to be inferior. That's how this is supposed to work, right?

Joking aside, wireless charging plates are amazingly convenient and I love that Ikea is putting them directly into furniture, even if these particular pieces do not yet strike me as suitable for my house. Presently, I have Qi plates at our desks, at the side table by the couch, and on the night stands. I would be in favor of plates that were there but couldn't be seen, for a slightly sleeker aesthetic.

For several years, I drove a MINI E electric car. Since then, I've been of the mind I will never again buy an ICE vehicle. ICE is dead to me. The same has happened with wireless charging. I will never buy a cell phone that requires I fidget with a wire to charge it. Connecting a wire is dead to me.

I am baffled that laptops and tablets are still behind the wireless charging curve. I want to drop my Surface on a charging plate.



Indeed. There are disadvantages. I guess what you're saying is that my Surface would charge more slowly on a pad than it will with its wire?

So be it.

I still want the convenience of wireless charging for my tablet/laptop. Here's the thing: my devices that charge wirelessly are in practice more often charged than those that require a wire. The speed of charging with a wire is immaterial if by requiring a wire, you have reduced the frequency of charging.

And if it's about efficiency (cost) of charging, then fine, let me know it will use a bit more electricity. I'm still going to do it. I've got way bigger fish to fry there.


Here efficiency is not only about costs but also about energy saving / protection or the environment.


Duracell must've payed Starbucks, because wirelessly chargeable phones are all using Qi. The only way I can imagine Powermat making a dent is by getting Apple to put it in the iPhone.


Interestingly enough, the new Samsung Galaxy S6 natively supports both Qi and PMA (Powermat) charging, so its possible to make devices that support both types of chargers.


I expect Starbucks will switch to whatever Apple picks. Along with everybody else.


Your expectations of Apple's market power are a bit inflated. Starbucks has not switched to ApplePay and neither has everybody else.


i agree with as Apple will go so will the market because switching out payment systems is an order of magnitude different (because of money and politics) than choosing an inductive power standard


Chargespot makes a charger that has both Qi and Powermat, it isn't a difficult problem to support both: http://www.chargespot.com/documents/ChargeSpot-Product-Sheet... WPC 1.1 is Qi I belive the only reason Starbucks has Powermat only is because they were provided for free by Powermat. The fact is that built into devices, Qi is far more common, but where or where is Apple?


Powermat and A4WP are merging, btw.


Lets wait and see what McDonald's use.


Cableless computing is one of the most exciting things going on in the computer world, IMHO.

Just look this Intel demo :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reDkEesnTpE


2 inches of material, and enough power to charge a laptop? That is seriously impressive. And this guy is really good at presenting.


Agreed completely.

I ordered a HP Elite X2 1011 with WiGig a while ago and plan on getting a pair of wireless docks, one for home, and one for work.

Missing in my equation is a built-in solution for wireless charging, but after watching this I'm hopeful that a minimally intrusive accessory will provide that functionality in due time.


That PDF is misleading. On Page 2 there is a women clearly holding an iPhone, without a cover, but if you go to Page 28 you get to see massive clunky covers which add wireless charging support to the iPhone. There are other examples in the PDF, but that is the most obvious, and easy to grasp.

Essentially most of this furniture won't work with the vast majority of phones, only the small handful that support wireless charging, and those are typically flagships.


True. They probably should have used some Lumias and Android phones since there are plenty of those that look sufficiently glamorous for these photo shoots and won't leave observant technical audiences feeling misled.

That said, wireless charging doesn't feel to me like a "flagships only" feature. I've been using Qi with my Lumia 920 for 2 years now; this doesn't seem like a flagship phone, but perhaps it was when I got it?


> True. They probably should have used some Lumias and Android phones since there are plenty of those that look sufficiently glamorous for these photo shoots and won't leave observant technical audiences feeling misled.

You obviously didn't even open the link - the very first thing you see on page 1 is a Samsung (Galaxy S4, I think?).


It is often necessary to read the entire context of a comment within its thread, as that may change the meaning entirely. Misinterpreting the meaning of a comment and responding to something the poster didn't say can, as you discovered, lead to downvotes.


I don't see how this is an issue of context. Yes, it's a little misleading for them to show an iPhone. But the comment I replied to said "they should have used some Lumias and Android phones" - which is exactly what they did.


The adapters don't need to be that chunky. The best ones use a design where it plugs into the Lightning / Micro USB port, and then the pad tucks behind the phone and is hidden by your existing case.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00S6YBDMQ/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_d...


Does that suffer the same problem that iQi (from Indiegogo) does? The iQi is not Apple Certified and will occasionally pop up a message that says "This cable accessory is not supported" and will stop charging.


If I've understood it correctly, in the US the iPhone is associated with class, and it's also elegant. While other phones can be just as expensive/stylish, they don't have the recognition factor of the iPhone. The very presence of an iPhone means something.


Yes, that's why most iPhone cases have an annoying circular cutout around the Apple logo on the back, reducing the functionality of the case but generating envy in your hapless Android-using neighbors...


Their $30 "JYSSEN" charger-for-a-hole product (found on page 25 of the PDF) looks excellent.

I've built a Nokia Qi charger into my desk (now used with my Galaxy S5) but the oblong form-factor of the coil and charger circuit did not lend itself to easy installation.

The round product looks perfect for retrofitting existing work desks, plus the price (as usual with Ikea) is quite competitive.


> plus the price (as usual with Ikea) is quite competitive.

Subjectively I've never found IKEA prices to be particularly compelling once you look past the cheap and flimsy chipboard stuff they put near the doors to wow visitors.

Durability has a price no matter who sells it.

For example a solid-wood bedframe is $1000

http://m.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/spr/49028229/


I do not know if you have noticed but, some pages later, you can see that the tool to drill these holes will also be available. Very convenient, indeed.


I love how Ikea embraces new technologies to make life actually easier, without bullst.


When will phone makers start building these into phones so that I don't have to have attached to my phone a proprietary case -- or some special case to support a proprietary charging pad -- that always occupies my data port?

Genuine question. Does anybody know if any makers are doing this/thinking about doing this?


I know a handful of Lumia phones that come built in with it. I have been using one for about 2+ years and must say its extremely convenient. No more fiddling plugging in or tugging on cables. When you are not holding your phone you put it down somewhere, and if that somewhere has a charging plate you never have to worry about low battery. Have bought multiple of these wireless chargers and also had one modified for the car's cup holder where I tend to place my phone while driving.


I do very much like the idea, but how does it affect the health of the battery? Even with modern lithium whatever batteries, I still have the impression that charging too often is bad for their longevity.


I think you're thinking of the old nickel batteries, lithiums liked to be fully charged at all times.


The past few Nexus phones (and some tablets?) have had this built-in. It's amazingly convenient.


latest model nexus 7 definitely does.


What modern phone doesn't have wireless charging built-in?


Ha! I know that iPhones don't come with wireless charging, and I assume you do too. But I too was tempted to reply sarcastically with precisely the sentence you wrote here (especially when GP seems to be feigning ignorance of the many phones that do come with built-in wireless charging, so why not mirror that feigned ignorance). Because it's surprising that the iPhone would still require fussing with wires. It's further ironic when it's made by Apple, the company that changes connectors every 2 years. You'd think the idea of doing away with connectors entirely would be appealing to them.

And to repeat the tired meme, once Apple releases an iPhone that does have wireless charging, it will be heralded as the dawn of wireless charging.


I have a Windows phone and I wrongly assumed that the Windows phone is behind on features. I figured that if it's on my phone then every other phone, especially iPhone, must have it already.

The other day there was some iCloud announcement about how if you take a picture on one device it will automatically sync to the other devices...and my mind was blown because if it wasn't doing that before what was the point of iCloud? I give the other phones too much credit I guess.


> It's further ironic when it's made by Apple, the company that changes connectors every 2 years.

That's definitely not accurate, the 30-pin connector was introduced in 2003 and wasn't replaced until 2012.


You forgot thunderbolt, mini-display port, hdmi, micro-dvi, dvi, adc (their own spin on dvi), the two different flavors of magsafe, multiple flavors of firewire, usb-a, and now usb-c.

They did skip DisplayPort though.


Apple's not a company that thinks about the past much.


Those are for different devices though. The iPhone is only on its second connector, just like Android.


I was thinking specifically about Samsung and iPhones.


The Samsung Galaxy S6/Edge has wireless charging (Qi and Powermat) built in.


Moto X 2014 version :/


Moto G


LG phones.


Oddly, the LG-made Nexus 4 from 2012 does have Qi support (though it's very finicky)


The LG-made Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 both have Qi charging built in.


My Nokia 929 has built in wireless charging. I believe it's Qi charging.


Many Lumia phones have Qi built in. This started happening over two years ago. I personally would never buy a phone without built-in wireless charging today.


You can get replacement battery covers for Samsung S5 phones that let you use Qi chargers. Still leaves the S5 water-resistant too.


Huh, about 2 years ago I gutted a "Lack" shelf from IKEA in order to put my wireless charger inside. I left the top intact so at a glance you can't even tell the charger is there. Looks like I was on to something...


this is cool. my desk at work / home and my night stand I all hacked to fit these low profile qi chargers from amazon, they work great with my nexus 5 and nexus 7.

http://www.amazon.com/Ultra-Slim-Wireless-Charging-Samsung-Q...

another charging hack was putting a 5 port usb hub in the middle of my couch cushions and running the power behind them to have usb ports for charging when i wanna zone out and play xbox for half the day.


Nice. They are partially getting it here.

The modular aspect is good; the ones that are not modular, and not of a style you like, meh.

But more importantly there's so much more that could be done. Let's home they take this much farther. Networking, sensing, energy management, displays, ergonomics, use of vertical space...

Seems like furniture is hugely ripe for disruption, and this will at least open some eyes to the possibilities.


Those plastic targets are really tacky. I will wait until the alliance for wireless power comes up with their devices.

The latter is a little more advanced. It uses magnetic resonance, so the target device can be at a small distance from the charger coil. This means that you can put the charger under a wooden board, and the device being charged on top of the board. Thus, a charging enabled table will look exactly like any other table and will not have an ugly plastic target on it.

Furthermore, the device being charged does not have to be exactly aligned, so no tacky plus signs. You can also charge several devices at one time.

What we have here is an interim half-way solution that will mostly give wireless charging a bad name for a while.


My main issue with them is the small target area. Is there a significant practical challenge to make a Qi charging area that's maybe 5 times what the small chargers are? Alignment, perhaps, or power waste?


The place where a wireless charger would be really useful is the car.


No, it isn't. I have a 3rd party Qi dock in my car. It works, but the power supplied by inductive charging isn't sufficient to power a phone which is running GPS and playing podcasts via Bluetooth.

I've tried this with a Nexus 6 (built in charging) and a Note 3 (add on cover) - in both cases the charger couldn't keep up with the discharge rate. Sure, the battery drained more slowly than would otherwise have been the case, but it's not a brilliant solution.

Perhaps phones will get me efficient in future, or maybe Qi will one day be as fast as USB charging. For now, the convenience is outweighed by crappy performance.


I installed a Qi dock in my car, and it charges the LG G3 just fine despite huge power draw from the QHD screen.

To maximize the power transfer, I would recommend:

1) Use a charger with 3 coils instead of 1

2) Don't use a cheap car outlet USB adapter. Get a nice one with at least 2A available per port. The nice ones are actually isolated to reduce interference with FM radio, too.

3) Use a very thin case, or no case at all on your phone.


Some cars like the Lexus NX already come with a wireless charging tray.

Source - http://pressroom.lexus.com/releases/lexus+2015+nx+200t+300h+...


I believe Toyota introduced that back with their 2013 Avalon. Indeed, I just found the following Youtube video showing it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5UujRFcmZU


Only if you don't mount your phone as a GPS (or other in-car application)


Why is mounting a phone as a GPS still so terrible? I have one of those suction cup stick on ones that falls off when the outside Vs. inside temperature changes too rapidly (so often).

They either need to allow the phone's video output to be displayed on the in-car LCD (and for touch actions on the LCD to be relayed to the phone), or my preferred option just add a damn screw hole to every dashboard, so we can just screw in a GPS holder (or other accessories) and it will never ever fall off.


Have you frequently moved the suction cup since first installation? The one I bought came with a sticky coating on the suction cup, and it's a beast (never falls, difficult to remove). But I can see potential issues if the sticky coating were to wear thin


No, and I've owned two different ones with different designs. They just fall off a lot.

But around here the temp' falls to well below freezing in the winter to sometimes one hundred degrees (F) in the summer.

I just don't think suction cuffs are the best idea for this application in general. Phones are relatively heavy, cars shake from side to side, and temperature weakens the suction.

For a $1 screw thread in a hole which the manufacturer of cars could add trivially in seconds, it just seems like this should be a solved problem by now.


You need one that "sucks" the air out of the suction cup, if you want it to hold through everything.

Otherwise, get one that is sticky, or one that connect to your dashboard.


Still pretty nice when you mount it for GPS as there are a couple solutions that do just that. Two examples. http://www.theairdock.com/ http://www.tylt.com/vu-car/


My housemate has an inductive charger and uses their phone for GPS. It's rather nice not having to screw with plugging the device in when you're getting in the car.


Sad truth is that it'll be a big deal when Apple releases their (proprietary?) version of wireless iPhone charging and everyone will think it's another revolution.

I'm an Android developer who just bought the new iPhone 6 and can't believe I'll have to plug it in every time to charge it.


Are these wireless charging pads affected by water on the surface?

I, like most people, use coffee tables, side tables, etc. to hold drinks which occasionally get condensation or spill. Would this cause any electrical hazard?


I don't think charging "pads" should be considered wireless. Yes, technically they don't require a wire but when we speak about going "wireless" the idea is to be liberated from the physical constraints of the wire and be able to move around freely without restraints. These charging pads are actually LESS liberating because it requires your device to be stuck to the pad otherwise it wont charge whereas with a wire you can at least use it several feet away. I'm not sure what value this adds over charging with wire in terms of functionality. What Ubeam is working on is more exciting and revolutionary. That's REAL wireless charging!


> I'm not sure what value this adds over charging with wire in terms of functionality.

Not sure if it's adding functionality but rather convenience. I think the goal of "charging furniture" is to pick up a collection of small charges over the day that remove the need for dedicated "inconvenient" charging times. So instead of tracking battery life and anticipating your future use and eventually coming to a point where you say "OK, now is is a good combination of low battery and convenient timing to plug my phone in and charge it" you just put it down when you sit down and magically you have a phone that lasts much longer before it needs a period of dedicated charging time.

When I got a wireless charging pad that was how I was hoping it would work. Except it didn't because it's a small pad and the phone has to be placed precisely on it and it makes an obnoxiously loud beep when charging begins. Since using it requires a mental decision and never really flows seamlessly, I really only find myself using it when I would use a charging cord anyway. But maybe the implementation in furniture may change that.

Just make the charging area large enough that I can drop it on the spot correctly on the first try reliably. (It takes me two tries on average with my current pad.)


Because you can pick it up and go more than 3ft away and put it back down when you're done without futzing with "fit the wire in the hole" again.


The furniture business sure would need some innovations. Perhaps Apple should expand into furnituring (seriously).


None of these solutions ever broach the issue that a lot of Andriod users have to use oversized extended batteries. They'll never make a charging chase to accomodate my large battery, and I'll never see a reason to give up the 7800 mAh battery i have...


I certainly wouldn't say it's "a lot" of Android users. The only people I've ever known who have used oversized batteries have also had rooted phones running some alternative Android distro - hardly your "typical" user. Most average Android users don't know oversized batteries exist.

And like it or not, most new Android phones don't even have replaceable batteries, so the number of users with oversized batteries is getting smaller and smaller.


A the majority of frequent international travelers I know, both iPhone and Android all have oversized batteries.

There's a whole section for them at Best Buy, they're hardly a niche product.


If it becomes commonplace to have wireless chargers in everyday furniture, less people will be dependent on extended/extra batteries.


This is the best UI/UX I've seen for integrating wireless charging into our daily lives! I imagine all future furniture makers will follow and there is a great opportunity for a start-up to supply this type of technology to every furniture maker.


What is the game shown on page 23?


So given the marketing material there will be no support for the iPhone 6+ ?


I don't see how Ikea could have any impact on that (short of sneaking into Apple's factories and secretly adding wireless charging hardware to their phones...)


...or releasing a case with inductive charging built in, like they're doing for the other iPhones?


"APRIL" 2015


I mean...there are still wires. Just not connected directly to your phone.


That is generally the case for all things marketed as "wireless."


Yup. The difference between plugging the phone and putting it in a special Qi dock seems minimal.

Rezence's (now also Powermat's) technology I think makes more sense for something like this.


The difference between plugging the phone and putting it in a special Qi dock seems minimal.

I thought that too, until I used one. I have a charging mat on my desk, so without even thinking about it now, every time I sit down I put my phone on the pad and it starts charging. Given that I get up and sit down a lot during the day (for meetings, etc) not having to fuss around with plugging in a charging cable (a two handed operation) is a blessing.

Yes, it's an absolute first world problem, but IMO charging mats are well worth it. It's just a shame that Apple still doesn't build in support for them. That said, docks have much the same effect, albeit with more breakable parts.


As others have said, it's nice to just pick up your phone off the pad, use it, and put it back, without having to unplug & plug it back in.

But personally, there's one much bigger reason wireless is so much better than USB: Qi doesn't wear out your USB jack. After plugging & unplugging my phone at least once a day for a year or two (and occasionally bumping it while plugged in), the USB jack eventually became an extremely finnicky, barely-usable pain in the ass.


I have a Nexus 5 with their wireless charger, and it makes a huge difference for me. Their charger is magnetic so the phone snaps into the correct location. In my case it's on my nightstand next to my bed. The ability to "plug in" my phone with one hand is fantastic.

When I am getting ready for bed I take my phone out of my pocket and put it on the charger, and go change into my pajamas. Then, later, while laying in bed, I might decide to read something so I pick up my phone and read. If I get an early morning phone call, I can grab my phone with my eyes closed and answer it. Admittedly a long cable might make those use cases workable.

My friend has his charger on his desk at work and doesn't charge the phone at home. If I knew that the Nexus line were going to stay magnetic, I'd have one in my car mounted upright as well as one on my desk at home and work.


> The difference between plugging the phone and putting it in a special Qi dock seems minimal.

I agree in terms of effort, the change is minimal, but consider a family who has 3 or 4 different devices and hence ports,. required to charge.

This means I don't need to hunt down the proper cord, we just have a couple of these devices at the front door. To me, that's eliminates a large pain in the ass.

At work no one needs to ask if someone has a black berry version 3 cord, or a "new style" Samsung galaxy cord, or the latest iPhone charging cable, you just put your phone down and walk away:)

it's a first world problem that is being solved here, but it's a big one that doesn't appear to be going away. European posturing aside.

http://www.cnet.com/news/eu-wants-all-companies-ahem-apple-t...


I really thought that micro-usb everywhere would do the trick. Apple seems to be holding out, but the rest of the devices my family uses have interchangeable chargers (kindles, android phones from assorted manufacturers, tablets). Obviously, standardization of charging methods is helpful, but honestly, I don't see the advantage of choosing Qi as a standard instead of micro-usb.


> choosing Qi as a standard instead of micro-usb.

Well, if you've ever had a port or cable break on you, you should know why.

It doesn't have exposed wires or moving parts, which means it should be much harder to break. Micro-usb is only rated for 10k insertions. If you plug your phone in 10 times a day, that's 2.5 years, and Galaxy S3's are quickly coming up on that old.


10 times a day seems like a pretty high average. I'd estimate I'm closer to 5.


Advantages? No wires to plug/unplug: Wires break. Phone parts break. Headphone jacks break. Wear and tear are a pita.

I have a Qi charger at my bed, in my computer room, car and work desk... I can just set my phone down at any of those places and not worry about fudging with wires (also have bluetooth headsets lying around).

I've had to replace phones due to broken/worn out jacks.


>The difference between plugging the phone and putting it in a special Qi dock seems minimal.

Having bought a Tylt Vu easel-style wireless charger I disagree.

It's far more convenient to have the charger on my nightstand. I don't have to have a USB cord dangling around. I also don't have to fumble with it in the dark if my wife goes to bed before I do. It seems to be a law of nature that you can never plug in a USB cord the right direction the first time around.


I make sure that the usb cable has the usb symbol that i can feel with my fingers. it makes it a lot easier in the night just to pass my thumb over the cable end to see which way is up.


I liked their example of a restaurant putting them in the bar top. Right now people who want to charge their phones have to decide if you want to plug in a data cable with something unknown on the other end. With wireless charging the attack surface is greatly reduced, if harder to eliminate completely (programming the embedded charge controller vs using a USB condom).


> Rezence's (now also Powermat's) technology I think makes more sense for something like this.

Having only used devices using Qi's standard, what's the difference?


The pad looks nicer than a wire.


Have you any of you guys every used Stir's furniture?


Yes, but being built into a piece of furniture with other wires means that those wires are easily managed and/or put in places where you wouldn't want to have a bare usb micro-b port lying around.


To be fair, it's wires all the way down.




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