Recharging batteries wirelessly

As mobile devices get more power-hungry, innovative gadgets are supplementing the needy hardware. The portable Xantrex Technology. PowerSource Mobile 100 battery recharges laptops, portable music players and handheld devices on the run. While not as mobile, SplashPower uses electromagnetic technology to wirelessly recharge mobile devices. Meanwhile, an example of a new portable device that uses a lot of juice is Archos's Archos 604 portable media player, which displays DVD-quality video on its small screen and doubles up as a digital video recorder. A time-saver is Primera Technology's Bravo SE Disc Publisher, which automatically burns and prints up to 20 CDs or DVDs in one device.

Power up wirelessly

SplashPower is working on technology that can recharge mobile products wirelessly. It's as radical as it sounds. A portable device can be placed on a SplashPad -- a small, square pad -- which transfers power to the mobile device. The pad can recharge mobile phones, handheld devices, MP3 players and other portable devices, though there's a catch: those devices require an inserted SplashPad receiver module. The receiver is a tiny module that can be placed directly into the device.

SplashPad can recharge devices as quickly as a traditional plug-in charger, according to the company. The pad can juice multiple mobile devices at once.

Power is transferred wirelessly using electromagnetic induction technology, which uses inductive coupling to generate and transmit energy, according to the company. Electromagnetic induction is currently used to recharge electric toothbrushes and to power smart tags, security tags and electric vehicles.

There is no indication of SplashPower products being available yet. But the technology could reach us soon, as the Cambridge, U.K., company is working with mobile providers.


Keep the juice flowing while getting the charging going

Xantrex's PowerSource Mobile 100 combines an AC power outlet and USB (Universal Serial Bus) outlets in one device to recharge batteries in laptops, portable music players and handheld devices. The 1-pound (0.45 kgs) battery claims to run a laptop for two hours, a portable DVD player for three hours and an iPod nano for 72 hours.

In Xantrex tests, a Dell Latitude D610 ran for about 2 hours while the PowerSource Mobile recharged the laptop's internal battery. The laptop was performing minimal features, with low screen brightness, according to the company. Laptops will pull more power from PowerSource if maximal features are used. When 10 percent power remains, the battery beeps to alert users.

The charger has redundant safety features, like a thermal fuse to shut down in case it goes into high temperatures, said Grant Dunbar, manager of product marketing at Xantrex.

Depending on voltage, about two-thirds of laptops in the market are compatible with PowerSource Mobile 100, Dunbar said. However, I strongly urge you to check with the company for laptop compatibility.

The US$129 portable power source from the Canadian company is available at More information about the product can be found here.

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