If you’ve been to CES as much as I have, chances are you’ve walked by the booth of Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). That’s because the booth sits in one of the most highly trafficked spots in all of CES, sandwiched between the CNET interview booth and the press room, and is always packed to capacity every day of the trade show.
So as I happened by the WPC booth on today’s annual day-before-opening-day trip to the press room, I was excited to see a technician setting up a kitchen demo. Longtime readers of the Spoon know that the group is busy working on a wireless kitchen standard, one which takes the technology developed for things like wireless charging mats to recharge mobile phones and will put it directly into the a kitchen counter to power small appliances.
For those who were at the Smart Kitchen Summit, you might recall a demo of the same technology, since the SKS had the first public showing of the WPC working group’s kitchen effort. As one would expect for CES, this week’s demo is much bigger, featuring countertop appliances from Haier and Philips being powered by the WPC tech.
Under the surface of the counter resides magnetic power coil which then powers the appliance by coupling with a second coil in the appliance. You can see a pic of the power coil under one of the counters here:
Because the kitchen standard will use a different power level than that of Qi , users won’t be able to charge their phones from the same coil. However, as envisioned in the demo, counters will have both Qi and the kitchen standard built in, allowing for scenarios with phone charging and appliance power directly from the counter. In the pic below, you can see a phone charging and a Philips proof of concept appliance drawing power from the kitchen counter.
Finally, they also showed me the Haier appliance powered by the WPC kitchen standard. You can see my video of that below.
With the Qi (pronounced “Chi”) wireless power charging standard becoming widely adopted, it’s exciting to see the WPC focusing their efforts on the cordless kitchen. While most of the tech and mainstream press have yet to hear about the WPC’s effort to push wireless power into the kitchen, I expect by the end of this year’s CES word will have gotten out and many more people will be talking about wireless power and the cordless kitchen.
The demo was codeveloped by the Wireless Power Consortium and Urbaneer, a developer of next-gen living concepts like the Bungalow based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Urbaneer intends to build a series of living spaces using the wireless kitchen technology being developed by WPC.