Nextbigfuture interviewed Alex Lidow, CEO of EPC. EPC is a leader in Gallium Nitride electronics and now is leading the charge to a new age of wireless power.
EPC is licensing gallium nitride integrated circuits which they have shown can enable furniture like tables to be made into charging surfaces.
Currently there are three kinds of wireless power.
* Inductive charging
* Airfuel Magnetic Resonance which is a standard that is taking off in Asia
* wearable wireless charging
EPC has created a new antenna which can be made onto a larger surface area and higher power levels using Airfuel. It can be made into wallpaper, table surface or even coverage of the floor of a room. It is PC board material with copper wires. The magnetic charging can be designed to only target 1 inch over the surface.
AirFuel Resonant employs the principle of magnetic resonance. It can support value-added services such as mobile payments, gaming, advertising, peer-to-peer data sharing and location based services. Airfuel technology is endorsed by the world’s leading mobile chipmakers, mobile phone manufacturers, and other key industry partners.
Scaling Airfuel would require more electronics to handle the interference at higher power levels (beyond 30 watts) and larger surface areas. The new EPC technology does not have those problems.
EPC is already speaking with companies in China and Taiwan who are interested in licensing furniture that includes the EPC technology.
They have already made a demo 165 watt charging table.
The charging wallpaper will enable flatscreen TVs or other devices hanging on a wall to be charged.
Taiwan and China companies are already looking to add charging at train stations using the EPC technology. Having this kind of charging at hotels and transportation would eliminate the problems that travelers have with incompatible plugs between North America, Asia and Europe.
EPC will be scaling their new broad area charging technology to 750 watts or more by the middle of next year to charge power hungry kitchen appliances.
In 5 to 10 years, we could begin to see entire houses or office buildings switching from costly wiring of buildings to a complete large area wireless solution.
Currently the EPC enabled power furniture would have one plug in for the furniture (night stand or table) and then the surface would provide charging.
However, in 5 to 10 years the costs for electrification of a home could be reduced as opening walls and running wires is a major area of cost for electricity. Electricians can charge $65-85 per hour to wire a house. Typical cost ranges to wire a home is $5000-25000. Removing the need to put wiring into wall could vastly reduce the costs for wiring homes and office buildings. It would also greatly reduce costs to upgrade the electricity in older buildings. Older buildings typically do not have enough plugs or do not have enough electrical capacity.
The standard for household power used to be 60 amps but modern homes often require as much as 200 amps to run air conditioners, computer equipment, high-definition televisions and home automation devices. This costs guide looks at the cost of an average size home of 1200 sq.ft.
Wiring Cost breakdown
Labor: this will depend greatly on the amount of work required as well as the skill level of each electrician. Electricians average between $65 and $85 per hour. For 1200 sq.ft. homes, this is estimated to take 2 hours per wiring connection ($130-$170).
Upgrade electrical service panel: upgrading a 60 amp panel to a modern standard 200 amp panel ranges between $800-$3000 according to the National Association of Home Builders.
Opening walls and running wires: because wiring is in the walls of a home and difficult to reach, rewiring a home requires opening the walls, removing old wires, running new wires and seal everything behind new drywall 1. For a home around 1200 sq.ft. this cost ranges between $3500-$8000. If an electrician can run most of the wiring through a basement, attic, crawlspace or floor joists, the costs will land on the lower end of the estimate. Larger homes or homes with restricted access to crawlspaces will inflate costs up to $20,000.
New wiring: laying new wires is a two-step process and is, typically, expected to be charged at 1 hour per 100 sq.ft. The material cost of new wires range between $6-$8 per ft. This places labor costs at around $7800 and material costs at around $4800 for this project.
Adding outlets and switches: add outlets and switches wherever needed. Each space needs to have 2-3 outlets per space, according to The Craftsman Book Company. Each switch or outlet can be expected to cost around $100-$185 each.
Enhancement and improvement costs
Enhance your wiring with structured wiring. This heavy-duty electrical and data cables are designed to handle modern entertainment and communication devices. Structured wiring costs $2 per sq.ft. ($2400).
Upgrade lighting fixtures for between $45 for a basic light to $150 for a mid-range light to $800+ for a luxury fixture.
In the video below, Alex Lidow explains that older schemes for wireless power generated magnetic fields that extended too far away from the powered surface and caused interference with nearby electronics. But a special antenna design eliminates that problem and makes the whole system power efficient to boot.