May 252010

Annually FierceWireless picks its list of fifteen “Fierce” wireless start-ups. The 2010 honorees are a diverse lot, including a VC firm, suppliers of wireless applications for niche markets, and a company trying to bring comic books to smart phones. My personal favorite is an outfit called “PowerMat” which offers inductive charging solutions to handset manufacturers. In their scheme, a suitably equipped phone may be placed on a special inductive mat for close proximity inductive charging – or just insert a dongle into your phone charger jack and place it on the PowerMat pad. The PowerMat concept makes far more sense than the far-fetched, Tesla-esque notion of an all pervasive energy field charging devices throughout your home or business. And PowerMat has the virtue of actually having real products!

May 132010

Is Induction Cooking Ready to go Mainstream?” asked the New York Times last month. An induction range uses a rapidly varying magnetic field to induce electric currents in steel pots and pans – causing them to get hot very rapidly. Induction cooking appears to be coming back into vogue… again.

In 1944, John Campbell wrote an article for Popular Science predicting induction heating – already in use for industrial processes – would be applied to cooking. After World War II however, the major electromagnetic advance in the culinary arts was the development of the microwave oven – rapidly eclipsing induction heating. In the early 1980’s there appears to have been yet another resurgence, judging by this 1984 Popular Science item.

Will induction cooking break out into the mass market? Only time will tell.

May 122010

From the July 1927 issue of Popular Science, the ‘latest’ thinking on “Wireless Power Transfer.”

The article quotes contemporary expert opinion from such luminaries as Steinmetz, Tesla, and Marconi. As Marconi noted: “the transmission of power by electrical waves awaited only the perfection of devices for projecting the waves in parallel beams in such a manner as to minimize dispersion and diffusion of energy into space.” Sorry Guglielmo, but we’re still waiting today for that particular perfection.

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