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Page first featured December 19, 2008

Intelligent wireless power via adaptive inductive coupling


Fulton Innovation has created eCoupled technology™ that is intelligent wireless power. It changes the way that people and devices interact with power and data.

Their technology enables one device to cover the range of power needs from milliwatts to kilowatts -- simultaneously -- by dynamically adapting as it seeks resonance at high frequencies, in an efficient manner. eCoupled technology eliminates the need for power cords by creating a closely-coupled inductive electromagnetic circuit that is combined with an intelligent control system that constantly monitors the power flow to insure optimal efficiency and safety. They can power directly or charge devices.

By leveraging the physics of near-field inductive coupling and combining it with proprietary communications and control microprocessor technology, Fulton Innovation will facilitate new advances in electronic device design.

Demonstration adapters are available for existing devices. Full integration is the goal. eCoupled technology will bring real wireless power to infrastructure, appliances, and consumer electronics starting in 2009.

Elements of the design have been successfully deployed in the marketplace since 2000 in the eSpring water purifier product, with sales exceeding $423 million as of Dec. 2007. They also are also in a relationship with Motorola, Energizer, Texas Instruments; and expect to see wireless power products from their line in the marketplace soon. Fulton Innovation continues to seek additional partners to join them in developing wireless power delivery standards and broaden the application of eCoupled technology.

The eCoupled technology works over distances of inches, not feet. They are not trying to do "far field," but are focusing on vicinity alignment for wireless power transmission. The technology can achieve 90 to 95% efficiency, compared with nearly 100% efficiency for an electric power cord.

"It’s difficult to overestimate the importance of the coolness factor in sales of upper-end cell phones and handhelds. If enough customers are willing to pay a premium to be able to toss their cell phone onto a charging pad at home, office, car, or hotel, then the decrease in efficiency will not be a stumbling block." (EDN)

The company promotional material asks: "Could eCoupled be the solution to any of your production development, or product design constraints?"

"It seems to me that the coolness factor is nearly the only thing going here. Until some distance can be achieved, the eCoupled approach merely eliminates the "plug in" step. It doesn't eliminate the constraints of distance to the recharge console. However, it does render a one-size-fits-all aspect for all portable devices. No doubt, it's a fun baby step toward a wireless power future. Those first few steps can be the most enjoyable. No doubt, there will yet be astonishing leaps in the future, including the ability to not be constrained by distance -- something Tesla was working on a century ago. Someday we might catch up to him." -- Sterling D. Allan; Dec. 19, 2008


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Official Websites


Interviews

How it Works

Quoting from http://ecoupled.com/technologyMain.html

"eCoupled™ technology communicates with the objects it's powering, allowing for feedback on the operation and status of the powered device and allowing for the transfer of data back and forth between the primary power supply and the eCoupled-enabled devices.
eCoupled technology allows for the elimination of external ports. Instead of plugs and connectors, the primary and eCoupled-enabled device only need to be placed in close proximity and has efficiencies near that of plug and socket connections - a device will charge in approximately the same amount of time as it would using a traditional plug-in charger.
eCoupled technology dynamically seeks resonance between the primary and eCoupled-enabled devices at high frequencies to achieve the optimal coupling coefficient under all conditions. Energy transfer efficiency is increased over conventional inductive coupling by as much as 98%.
There is integrated low-cost modulation in the eCoupled™ circuitry, enabling data transfer at rates of up to 1.1 Mbps. eCoupled technology can accommodate a variety of communication needs through differing levels of technology to support individual applications.
eCoupled technology can operate on either AC power from a wall outlet or DC power from an adapter. For example, the same primary can be plugged into the DC outlet in a car as well as into the AC outlet in a house to power any electrical device."

Saving energy through wireless power

Many consumers do not realize that electronic devices continue to draw electricity while the products are turned off. Research from the U.S. Department of Energy determined that, on average, 75 percent of all electricity used to power electronics is consumed when products are not in use. Fulton's eCoupled technology addresses this problem by using an advanced profiling protocol that identifies eCoupled-enabled devices to be powered. At the same time, the profiling protocol also assesses power needs and individual battery lifecycles to provide only the necessary amount of power for any given device. [1]

Latest Developments

Dec. 17, 2008

A partnership is announced between Fulton and Energizer. [2]

As part of the relationship, Energizer is utilizing eCoupled wireless charging, one of a number of enabling technologies that Energizer views as having great potential in addressing consumers' needs for portability and power -- when and wherever they need it.
Energizer is partnering with Fulton to deliver an advanced wireless power product solution in portable commercial lighting. Together, with an in-vehicle console from Leggett & Platt, the companies are introducing a new rechargeable lighting solution that charges through eCoupled wireless power.
"Users will be able to charge tools, lights, phones, headsets and laptops in new and convenient ways that previously were not possible," said Miles Faust, General Manager, Energizer Lighting Products.

Dec. 11, 2008

Fulton and AVID are working together to help companies integrate the eCoupled technology into their products. [3]

eCoupled technology Evaluation and Development kits will provide customers the ability to experience the functionality and benefits of the technology first hand. These kits will provide licensees the means to jump-start their product development and assist them in quickly incorporating eCoupled technology into their products. The eCoupled Evaluation Kit is currently scheduled to be available for sale during the first quarter of 2009 with the eCoupled Development Kit to follow shortly thereafter.

Videos

Overviews

Fulton Innovation Advertisements

(0:47 Minutes)

  • eCoupled Technology Commercial - eCoupled technology is intelligent wireless power. Where can it take you? (YouTube; December 31, 2007)

- - - -


(4.23 Minutes)

  • eCoupled Technology Overview - Inductive coupling and efficient wireless power aren't new theories. eCoupled technology is bringing these ideas to life. (YouTube; December 31, 2007)

2006 Overview


(4.18 Minutes)

  • eCoupled Wireless Power - eCoupled wireless power, developed by Alticor subsidiary Fulton Innovation, allows for power and data transfer without cables. The technology has been used in eSpring water filters for some years and will soon be appearing in other consumer electronics. (YouTube; December 27, 2006)

Product Reviews

IEEE Spectrum


(1.06 Minutes)

  • The Full Spectrum: Wireless Power Roundup - Episode 7: IEEE Spectrum provides a look at three different technologies for eliminating power cable clutter. Each of the companies has managed to get at least one product on the market already. (YouTube; July 24, 2008)

Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2008


(1:04 Minutes)

  • CES 2008 - eCoupled Wireless Power Technology - Variety of devices and applications being powered wirelessly, including iPod, Zune, laptop, Foreman grill. Mentiones relationship with Motorola. No product available yet, but soon. (YouTube; January 9, 2008)

CES 2007


(4.02 Minutes)

  • eCoupled at CES - New wireless power technology from eCoupled was publicly launced at CES 2007. Here's an interview and demos from Forbes.com. The technology has been in use in Alticor's eSpring water purifier for several years. eSpring is available from Quixtar and Amway independent business owners. (YouTube; January 18, 2007)

Product Demonstrations

Wireless Blender


(1.06 Minutes)

  • eCoupled Wireless Blender Demo - Fulton Innovation - Demo of a wirelessly-powered blender using eCoupled technology. (YouTube; October 13, 2008)

Wireless Grill


(3.52 Minutes)

  • eCoupled Technology Overview - Inductive coupling and efficient wireless power aren't new theories. eCoupled technology is bringing these ideas to life. (YouTube; October 30, 2008)


Costs

list here

Advantages

  • Wireless power transfer
  • eCoupled technology eliminates the need for precise positioning in multiple dimensions, making it easy to connect with the power and data source.
  • It meets EMI/RFI regulations eliminating interference with other electronic devices.
  • It won't erase data or interfere with wireless devices, and since eCoupled technology doesn't use exposed metal connections, it greatly reduces the risk of arcing and shorting. It also decreases the risk of electrocution - providing increased protection for equipment and operators. Additionally, eCoupled technology will shut down if excessive power demands are made, and it is active only when the primary supply and secondary receiving coils are within the required range of one another.
  • It allows a single primary to supply power to one device or simultaneously to multiple, similar or differing devices. Traditional inductive coupling is restricted to a single device matched to a single primary.
  • It enables devices to be sealed so they are water proof, for safety and durability.

Applications

  • Portable devices
  • Countertop appliances

Independent Testing

eCoupled technology has been successfully deployed in Alticor's eSpring™ water treatment systems for over six years with over 1.5 million devices sold in over 36 countries around the world and has received excellent marks for safety, EMC noise and other international performance standards through six third-party certifiers and/or standards bodies.

Patents

Profiles

Company: Fulton Innovation, LLC

Fulton Innovation is dedicated to commercializing and promoting new and innovative technologies that provide global economic and social value. Fulton is committed to being the world leader in discovering, distributing and commercializing valuable innovative technologies that improve the way people work, live and play.

With offices in Ada, Michigan USA and Cambridge, England UK, Fulton is an international leader in utilizing advanced technologies to further develop the quality of life for people around the world. Fulton is a member of the Amway Inc. family of companies, which employs more than 13,000 people worldwide. [4]

Fulton Innovation and a growing list of industry leaders, including Herman Miller, Motorola and Visteon are working together to commercialize solutions in the portable consumer electronics arena.

The engineers behind eCoupled have been developing and perfecting the technology for over ten years.

Partner: AVID Technologies, Inc.

AVID has been working with Fulton in the development of eCoupled wireless power technology for over five years and is excited to be able to provide design, development, and integration services to Fulton licensees seeking to utilize eCoupled technology in their products. [5]

VID Technologies, located in Twinsburg, Ohio, has been providing electronic design services to OEMs since 1985. AVID services the consumer, automotive, industrial, commercial, medical, and military markets with advanced engineering and innovative product development. With over 50 employees, AVID's offerings include product definition, hardware design, software development, PCB layout, mechanical design, test systems, and manufacturing support with full turnkey product development or specific area consulting.

Alticor

As of Dec. 2007, this technology had been "fully capitalized by Alticor, who is seeking one or more partners to join with them to broaden the application of this technology through licensing agreements, joint ventures, or other arrangements". [6]

Inventors:

See http://ecoupled.com/technologyPatents.html

Coverage

In the News


  • eCoupled Wireless Power-Simplify Your Life! (2 min. video) - By removing the last restraint of the power cord, eCoupled wireless power will finally allow the lifestyle of freedom while saving energy. Working with industry leading partners to bring the technology into your hands, eCoupled is leading the charge towards a true wireless future. (YouTube / FultonInnovation; September 28, 2009)
  • Featured: Wireless Transmission / Battery Chargers >
    eCoupled is helping launch a world without power wires - eCoupled technology by Fulton Innovation, entails an inductively coupled power circuit that dynamically seeks resonance with the device(s) being charged. Ties with Motorola, Energizer, Texas Instruments will see many products arrive in 2009. (PESWiki; Dec 19, 2008)
  • The power to overcome a bad economy? - Companies like WildCharge and eCoupled are already selling (or will soon start selling) pads and other technology that will charge devices resting on them ... (Boston Globe - Nov 23, 2008)
  • Future Desks to Charge Gadgets Wirelessly - Future desks may allow us to charge our phones, iPods, PDAs and other gadgets wirelessly. Office equipment maker Herman Miller is one of the... (Slashdot; January 20th, 2007)

Comments

See Discussion page

Contact

Fulton Innovation, LLC
7575 Fulton Street East
Ada, Michigan 49355
phone: (800) 222-1462

E-Mail: ecInfo@fultoninnovation.com

See also


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