Home: Electricity: Power Outlet
Floor Induction   (+3, -1)  [vote for, against]
Alternative To Power Sockets

there are several problems with the standard system of using power outlets to energize various electric lighting and electronic gadgetry.

power plugs used to power these items require items to be within range of the outlets, as well as having cords to connect the items to the plugs. these cords create a trip hazard (one i know well), and require the use of lots of excess wire. power outlets also carry a risk of having young children sticking metallic items in them and getting shocked.

intead of wiring a home with individual power outlets, a powered pad made up of iron cored induction coils could be layered underneath the flooring media of choice. when an item is placed on the floor, the current moving through the coils underneath it induce current in the item's coil and power the item in the same manner as plugging the item into the wall directly.

this method allows for universal connections to power all over the world. because these also work in the same manner as transformers, a type of autotransformer could be built into the item with a selector that can be adjusted for different voltages around the world. this also remove the need for the entire transfomer usually contained in a wall wart that is used for your gadgetry, reducing the weight of your item.

although this method would require for power to continuosly be flowing through the floor coils, a trickle current can be sent through the coils with a controller that can detect when induction takes place, and can switch the coils to full power.

the design using multiple floor coils per room has advantages over single coils, because it can simplify the magnetic field required to power multiple items. depending on how large the footprint of the item is, it can cover multiple coils, and bepending on the controller used, even multiple phase items could be used.
-- tcarson, Jul 06 2006

I think this might be hugely inefficient. If it is working like a transformer then a lot of the power will be turned into heat won't it? I wouldn't want to try and power a vacuum cleaner like this. Please correct me if I'm wrong in this assumption. Also, won't a current be induced in things where you don't want it, e.g. things that are just metal objects (metal chairs -> electric chairs)? It is a very appealing idea though. I hate power cables. Wireless energy + wireless internet would be wonderful.
-- ooooooooo, Jul 06 2006

[oooooooo], this probably would be slightly less efficient than the standard wall wart type of transformer. current might be induced in things that don't need it, but you just need to ground your metal furniture. that would prevent you from being shocked, and it would only require a grounded floor surface. that would probably be a good idea now anyway. i'm not sure i see the issue with a vacuum cleaner, although i have rotten luck with those anyway, it's likely that my idea might have issues with vacuums just to spite me.

you have to remember that the magnetic field utilized would only extend a couple inches off of the floor, so in order to charge your devices you would need to put them on a special table that can charge them, or on the floor. i would recommend keeping your magnetic swipe cards away from any surface that has a magnetic field though.
-- tcarson, Jul 06 2006

random, halfbakery