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Crazy pot smokers get high on wireless power

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The Wireless Power Consortium is promising to demonstrate more than 60 new products next week, heralding a new wave of battery charging for people too stoned to plug in their phones.

That's according to the makers of one of the products to be shown, the eponymous GetPowerPad, who recently announced it was in the last stages of testing by "innovators, trend watchers, artists, trendsetters, bloggers, role models, some crazy pot smokers". GetPowerPad will get its first live demonstration at CEATEC next week, along with car dashboards, clocks, Wi-Fi routers and assorted furniture incorporating induction-charging loops.

Those loops all conform to the Qi standard, which enables devices to communicate their power needs when placed atop a charging loop, regardless of the manufacturer. Loops can support multiple devices, and companies including General Motors have agreed to fit Qi-compatible loops into their products.

Most of the offerings shown at the CEATEC event will be simple mats like those already offered by PowerMat (soon to be branded Duracell), but induction-pioneer Fulton demonstrated a kitchen-top loop which could run a blender back in 2008 - so expect to see some kitchen-based demos and probably a car or two from GM incorporating the technology.

The home-grown enthusiast will probably have more use for some sort of coffee table model, though the standalone mats could be usefully dual-function.

None of this matters until someone starts building Qi technology into devices as well as furniture. Right now users need replacement back panels, or wrap-around cases, depending on what they're trying to charge, but those are expensive and cumbersome; to be successful the technology has to be integrated.

With charging over micro-USB becoming so widely adopted, despite its slow power delivery, half the reasoning behind wireless charging has gone. Not having to connect a plug is cool, but hardly a killer feature as demonstrated by the lacklustre sales of Palm's TouchStone charging cradle.

But perhaps we're just not stoned enough to see the appeal. ®

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