I just heard from my old chum Dean Solov over at the Integrated Device Company (IDT). It turns out that the little scamps have a rather interesting contest running, in which they’re asking engineers, inventors, and hobbyists to use their wireless power charging kits to integrate wireless charging into novel applications. As you'll see from Dean's message below, this contest is being sponsored by IDT and DigiKey, and it's being hosted on the Hackster site.
Hi Max, I wanted to fill you in on a fun contest that my company, IDT, is supporting. This contest is being run by a business partner of ours, Digi-Key. We're inviting engineers and hobbyists to show their creativity and imagination by integrating wireless charging technology into novel applications by using IDT's wireless design reference kits.
Most folks know — through articles, press releases and ads — that wireless charging has been integrated into smart phones, wearables, and even furniture. But a wirelessly-charged tracking dog collar? A wirelessly-powered smart cane for the elderly? Those are just a few of the submissions from the 164 participants from around the globe who've signed up for the competition thus far (Winners will receive Samsung products that are wirelessly powered via IDT chips).
Other ideas submitted include a rover, a drone, a toy car garage, a GPS tracker, an IoT scooter, and an auto-recharging “in-vehicle dog safety device” that notifies the owner via cell phone when temperatures reach above 95 degrees in his truck. (For some reason, dogs and wireless charging seem to go well together.)
The response in these first few weeks of the competition has been pretty remarkable. The “Power without Boundaries” contest is hosted on the Hackster website. Folks interested in participating have through Dec. 31 to sign up.
The point of this whole thing is to demonstrate how quickly and easily engineers, inventors, and hobbyists can build wireless charging capabilities into a wide variety of applications using our 5W wireless power kits.
Wireless power is tricky business — it took nearly 200 years since Michael Faraday's pioneering work in magnetic induction for the technology to reach mainstream consumer products. But the IDT kits and this contest are demonstrating that most engineers, including those without any particular wireless power expertise, can use the kits to create working prototypes within hours.
IDT introduced these kits in late August to address the mass market. Our company has been, thankfully, quite successful the past few years teaming with key Tier 1 high-volume customers on wireless power, but we haven't had the bandwidth to work with the myriad of smaller companies interested in the technology. So we developed these kits, which are essentially plug-and-play reference boards buttressed with a ton of support material. In short, designing in wireless charging capabilities with the kits is relatively easy, because IDT engineers have already done most of the heavy lifting.
We're convinced there are practically an unlimited number of applications that would be strong candidates for integrating wireless power. And, based on the orders we've received since launching the kits, coupled with the response to this contest, it appears others are convinced of this as well. We'll be announcing the contest winners in February.
Take care, Dean
I have to admit that this struck a bit of a chord with me. I currently have my iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro sitting on the floor of my office near the door charging furiously. Whenever I want to charge the little rascals, it's a pain having to root around in my backpack for the requisite wall warts and cables. I'd love to have a wireless recharging station sitting on the corner of my desk.
I'm going to be very interested to see all of the capaciously cunning ideas that come out of this challenge. In the meantime, can you think of an unusual application for a wireless charging solution? (If so, why don’t you enter it in this competition?)