For tech reporters, late December is the best of times and the worst of times. The holidays are the best and give us a couple days off from the daily grind. But right after the holidays is the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), so our mailboxes are now inundated with thousands of pitches touting new gadgets.
Yesterday Millo, makers of the eponymous cordless blender (and Innovation award winner at our recent Smart Kitchen Summit), posted a picture on Linkedin of its new product — a smart kitchen table — that will debut at CES next month.
It appears to be a wireless power table, capable of powering kitchen appliances without the need for cords, plugs or adapters (though obviously they’d need a wireless power capable device).
We reached out to Aivaras Bakanas, Millo’s Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer, to find out more, but he only offered a couple additional, vague details, like that the table uses magnetic air drive (MAD) technology.
Wireless power is something of a holy grail for the kitchen. The ability to power a device like a coffee maker simply by setting it on a countertop would reduce clutter (no more cords) and allow for more efficient use of space because you can use that counterspace for food prep when not powering devices.
The Ki Cordless Kitchen standard works with any non-metal countertop or table surface, including marble, slate, granite, laminates, wood and many others. Enabled appliances communicate with the transmitter through near-field communication (NFC), a safe, inexpensive and pervasive technology currently used around the world in bankcards, door locks, passports, transport tickets, and more.
Based on a comment Bakanas left on Linkedin, it doesn’t seem like Millo is hopping on board with this Ki standard, saying that his company’s MAD drive was “much better” because it “can have any kind of rotation, and induction in this table.”
While that may be true, the Wireless Power Consortium is the incumbent with a ton of industry partners and track record with the widely adopted Qi wireless standard.
Regardless of whether this will be an uphill struggle for Millo, it’s cool to see the company has bigger ambitions beyond blending you a morning smoothie.