The Power Electronics side of CES 2016

There was a time when consumer electronics innovations were the adaptation of Government’s and institution’s technology needs, into cheaper home sized devices, like microwave oven or flat screen TV.

Now some technology makers are still trying to renew those old saturated markets with some innovation (like TV market, which failed in selling us 3D and now tries very hard with 4K…), but mostly innovations are now pushed by our everyday – new – needs. Technologies  that are born to make people’s lives easier (healthier, more comfortable, more connected…) led  us to wear and use electronics to measure, help and assist us. That’s what you see when going down the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) alleys in Las Vegas.

Of course, that’s what we love! Cause electronics means power. So it means power electronics. You’ll tell us we see power electronics everywhere… But it is everywhere! Especially at CES 2016. Yes, all our electronics still need batteries…

Electric cars crashing the party at CES

Faraday future electric car prototype concept car

Faraday Future Concept car presented at CES 2016


They took all the space to showcase nothing really new: Faraday Future managed to make the buzz on a concept car, but nothing ready to produce. Tesla and all others like Ford, GM or Chevrolet showed either their EV cars or some autonomous capabilities.

Capabilities which will not be available before 2017 or 2018 for all of us. That’s kind of crashing the party, don’t you think?

Smaller is the new better (for Power electronics)

Innergie ICE 65W laptop adapter - from Delta - Laptop power supply

Innergie ICE 65W laptop adapter – from Delta

We cannot talk about this year’s CES without citing (again) FINSix. The maker of the Dart, claimed to be the smallest laptop charger in the world signed an agreement with Lenovo. Their technology will included in an optional charger for Lenovo latest high-end netbooks. It also seems that Kickstarter’s preorders are close to delivery. We, at Point The Gap, ordered the competing Zolt, from Avogy. We already received it but hesitate to tear it apart to see the inside…

Note that Delta released also a tiny power supply for laptops. It’s called Innergie ice and it’s a 65W, and it looks a lot like FINSix Dart.

Fuel cell are making their way

MyFC showed their small Fuel Cell battery for smartphones. They provide also 2USD cartridges with the 99USD charger that provides 1,800mAh. Enough to charge up most smartphones for a day.

Japan based Aqua Power Systems also presented a USB charger based Fuel Cell technology. It can charge a smartphone up to 20 times before you need to replace the magnesium plates. It can provide up to 30,000mAh from 6-10% salt water.

Do you take your battery with salt or sugar?

Presented at CES, and probably a must have of 2017 or 2018 CES will be lithium-free batteries. You know that Lithium is a limited resource on earth. It costs a lot to the environment. So having another element in our batteries would help us save the Earth.

PDP presented a battery pack for video game controllers using « a physical reaction rather than a chemical reaction » to charge in one minute. We can’t wait to know more about it.

During CES, I found two news about the next type of batteries. The first from CEA in France, and replacing Lithium with… Sodium. It’s not a new technology (known since the 60’s) but with lithium lack and prices, I bet it will raise in interest. Another one came from a Chinese PhD students team which managed to get current out from Sugar and bacteria. It’s not as advanced but still interesting.

Wireless power is the wow thing this year!

Wireless power is the new hype. And we’re checking if it’s worth making a market report about it by the way. Vote here if you want to see a “Market and technologies enabling Wireless power” released!

We have followed the GaN devices maker EPC Corp. tweets and news to know where were wireless power devices hidden ;-)

The biggest were there: Energous, Ossia, WiTricity,Cota, the Wireless Power Consortium…

The interesting fact about this technology is not really that it can help power your mobile phone on a table or ditch the laptop adapter. It can power all the small intelligent objects we see everywhere, and that cannot handle more than a day of life: imagine putting back your « smart sport shoes » on their charging support, with no wire to not compromise the waterproof. Same with your watch, headphones, or all the wearables technologies or small smart objects like ibeacons, tags, etc. That is, from our point of view, the real market for wireless charging.

The technology is here, ready for integration.

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