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Could your washer really charge your smartphone from across the room?

Daniel Cooper, @danielwcooper
October 31, 2014
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Wireless charging is a little bit more convenient than plugging your device in, but was picking up a microUSB lead ever that much of a chore in the first place? White goods and TV supremos Haier believe so, which is why it's signed a development pact with wireless charging outfit Energous. The latter company's WattUp technology promises to deliver power over the same radio bands as a WiFi router and is apparently able to charge a smartphone from distances of up to 15 feet. The idea, at this early stage, is to cram these power transmitters into Haier's refrigerators, washing machines and microwaves, so that you can re-juice your phone while you wait for your dinner and do your laundry.

Of course, there's still a few questions about how it'll work in practice. For instance, won't needlessly pumping this stuff out be really energy intensive and wasteful? Then there's the question of if it wouldn't be damaging to health in the same way that people have raised concerns about living next to electrical substations? Oh, and what about the fact that constantly powering your phone will eventually cause the battery to stop storing a charge? Hopefully Energous will have answers to all of these questions soon enough, since we'll be keeping a watchful eye on how this project develops.

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