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Gadget of the Week - Powermat

That tangled mess of chords that is required to charge all our electronic devices has become an annoying part of our daily lives. It can also be dangerous for households with young children. Fortunately, relief may finally be on the way!

Wireless charging is something gadget lovers have been hearing about for years, but a small company called Powermat is promising to make it happen. Based on what they showed at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, they just might make good on that promise. 

Imagine just placing any of your gizmos on a mat and having them charge by themselves. No need for multiple chargers, adapters, converters, and power sockets. Powermat uses the principles of magnetic induction to transmit electrical power via an ultra-thin mat to any Powermat-enabled electronic device – devices like your iPod, cell phone, BlackBerry, GPS unit, handheld gaming system, even your laptop computer!

The mats come in five different configurations, including a modular unit, special designs for your bedside and desk, a extra portable travel unit, and a special unit capable of charging a laptop. Each Powermat can wirelessly charge up to six different devices simultaneously depending on the model. Powermat claims that charging occurs at the same rate as if each device was charging with its own charger, regardless of how many devices are being charged.


Sounds amazing, and it is, but it’s not quite that simple. To begin with the mat must be plugged in to an outlet, so calling it true wireless charging might be a bit of a stretch. More importantly, each device you want to charge must be coupled with a receiver (either a special case, disc, or dock) to receive power from the mat.

Powermat’s receivers are designed to work with existing electronic devices. The company plans to offer a dozen receivers that will work with hundreds of devices when the product is officially launched this fall, with more being developed over the time.

The mats will be available in white and black finish and will be priced around $100. The required cases/docks for each individual device will cost around $30.

There’s no question that the Powermat will reduce your chord clutter. It will also save energy, since one Powermat consumes less energy than having each adapter plugged in separately. By doing away with overloaded outlets or power strips – a leading cause of electrical fires – Powermat has a meaningful safety benefit as well.

Powermat says its next generation mats will be able to determine which devices placed on them need power the most and distribute power accordingly, turning off the flow of power when a device is fully charged.  According to the Powermat website, the technology is scalable and future applications will be embedded in walls, desks, tables and other areas – enabling them to become invisible connectivity points for wire-free energy.

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