SplashPower splashes down in Fulton Innovation

Consolidating the drips for induction charging

SplashPower, the UK inductive charging company that has been struggling to create a product since 2001, has been bought up by Alticor-subsidiary Fulton Innovation.

SplashPower went into administration last month, having failed to secure more funding, and Fulton purchased the assets from the administrators. Fulton is also in the inductive charging business as the exclusive licensor of eCoupled technology, though it is also at the impressive-demonstration stage of development.

Inductive charging, as used in electric toothbrushes, makes for good proof-of-concept demonstrations, and the idea of being able to drop a device onto a mousemat-sized platform and have it charged wirelessly is attractive. SplashPower's idea was to get its technology incorporated into mobile phones, PDAs and the like, so every device could use the same pad. Given that device manufacturers can't agree on a single plug design or even a charging voltage, it was optimistic that they were going to all agree to license the Cambridge-based company's technology, cool as it was.

Slightly more practical, though less cool, is WildCharge, which achieves the same effect with a replacement case featuring embedded contacts - wireless, if not contactless.

Fulton seems more interested in the patents owned by SplashPower than its employees or existing business. "Combining our own robust patent portfolio with Splashpower's, we continue to strengthen and expand our capabilities in the development of wireless power," said director of advanced technologies for Fulton Innovation Dave Baarman in a statement. The company hasn't yet responded to our request for more information on its plans for SplashPower.

If manufacturers do all adopt USB as the preferred charging solution - and a recent edict from the Chinese government should drive them in that direction - then the plethora of chargers and plugs disappears from desks anyway, leaving SplashPower with even less of a problem to solve. Fulton Innovation seem to have a broader approach to utilising wireless charging, but a wireless grill hardly seems to be the killer app for the technology. ®

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