HoMedics Powermat North America (HPNA) introduced a device that will charge portable applications -such as a cell phone or iPod- without needing to plug them into multiple outlets and power adapters.
But the question is this: just how safe is the device? The Powermat, according to the manufacturer, is based on "principles of magnetic induction," using a unique energy distribution process rather than traditional conductive charging technology. Depending on the model, consumers can place up to six different Powermat-enabled devices on the mat -without inserting any power cords. Each device will recharge as if plugged into its own power adapter. The only plugging taking place is the Powermat's power adaptor connecting to a wall outlet, thereby reducing the overall number of power adaptors and outlets needed.
"Powermat utilizes magnetic induction as a power delivery method, combined with significant IP developed in Israel by Powermat; eliminating the traditional cluster of wires and line cords," says the company. "Powermat offers a ‘complete’ solution with a unique capability to deliver electrical power in either low or high capacity for products as varied as cell phones or laptops. There is no product in the market that can charge both types of devices simultaneously, on the same mat and using a single plug."
As of now, there are five different models to choose from. However, the Powermat's inductive technology pairs an ultra-thin mat with a variety of receivers that connect to the device(s). The mat, an ultra-thin transmitter, transmits a magnetic field generated in an embedded coil matrix to a small, localized receiver attached to or embedded in the electronic device. The power delivery is constantly monitored and regulated by dedicated system resources and data protocol. The Powermat even allows devices to transmit audio and video data wirelessly, allowing users to sync their iPods or transmit videos to the TV "at a very efficient transfer rate."
HPNA aims to take its Powermat one step further in the future, visualizing its device embedded in walls, tabletops or other surfaces, enabling any surface to become an invisible connecting point for wire-free technology. The company claims that its technology is fast, efficient and safe, revolutionizing the way consumers charge and power.
Still, is the device safe? That remains to be seen, especially for consumers with electronic implants such as pacemakers and internal defibrillators. As of this writing, Powermat USA has not responded to our emailed inquiry. A technical white paper issued by HoMedics hints at the products safety by noting that the Powermat is hermetically sealed and has no galvanic contacts.
The Powermat is scheduled to hit store shelves this Fall, and should work on most portable. However HPNA will release a detailed list of compatible devices later this year.