Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009 | 12:23 a.m.
I was nearing the end of my CES run for the day when I spotted a nice orange and white booth situated behind LG in the Central Hall. Upon further inspection, I noticed the name Fulton hanging from the ceiling and the word "wireless" plastered everywhere. The booth had a nice, homey, environmentally friendly feel to it, and several names on the round banner above it that caught my eye. Small names like Energizer, Texas Instruments, Bosch Power Tools and Amway. Then I saw another name or word that really caught my eye: eCoupled. I had to ask myself is this a dating service for nerds or what? My interest was piqued.
Upon entering the booth area, I was greeted by a friendly face who asked if I had any questions. I asked for the proverbial press kit, and received one, and was then passed off to Sharon Barclay, who handles more of the public relations. Sharon was in the middle of a demo with someone else, so I tagged along to see what was happening. To my surprise, this was about wireless power -- and I mean real power. Not just the little "let us show you how we can charge your toothbrush or your cell phone," but raw gu-wrenching power. They used wireless power to operate everything from remote controls and lights to a blender, with no real lag in usage. The blender could even be moved about on the counter top with no dip in the power it was using. There was also a hot plate and a pan -- must have been for boiling water since there was bubbly water in it -- a five-sided charging cradle with multiple hand-held devices, and something else called an eSpring.
So, I ask about the eSpring, and that must have been the right question, because I was about to be schooled in the entire reason for Fulton Innovation coming into existence. Bret Lewis was called over, and he was excited to explain how the eSpring works, and that it was the granddaddy of all the eCoupled devices. The eSpring, which is a water purifier, not only filters water, but has a UV light to kill bacteria. In order for the eSpring to fire up at the same rate as water coming out of your tap, the engineers at Fulton needed the ability to hit it up with massive amounts of power to get the UV lamp started, and then lower the power for the normal operating. They also wanted to have a product that was eco-friendly and would not drain power when not in use, and that is where the really sweet tech comes in.
What Fulton Innovation now calls its eCoupled power begins with your basic inductive coil that is attached to a complex set of integrated circuits. The integrated circuits tell the coil when to operate, and how much power to operate with. The power can range from milliwatts to kilowatts, and the devices are equipped with all the information on how much power they can handle as well as when they are full. There are even safety features built in to prevent the coils from attempting to charge a non-eCoupled device that happens to be placed near it.
Fulton Innovation's partners will begin releasing products throughout 2009 that will be eCoupled. Over 1.5 million eCoupled devices have been sold over the last seven years and are in use on the global marketplace. This means it is a real technology with not only real-world applications, but current usage. It also means you as a consumer will be able to get your hands on this eco-friendly, cost-saving technology this year.
So, while eCoupled is not a dating service for nerds, it is still a very cool product. For more information, check out the stuff I got in the press release kit: