Sold! Ikea to add wireless charging to its furniture

I know you can be a bit sniffy about Ikea, but in my office I’m surrounded by nine Billy Bookshelves. I’m trying to remember if my desk is an Ikea one as well. Might be. And if it were, or if I were about to buy an Ikea desk, I would soon have the option to let my desk charge my phone for me.

With smartphones being such a natural part of our lives, we want the charging part to become a natural part of our homes. That’s why IKEA has created a range of wireless chargers that make mobile charging a lot more accessible, yet a lot less obvious.

How do they work? IKEA has made that part pretty easy. Simply place your phone on the plus sign. That’s it. All wireless chargers come with a USB outlet, making it possible to charge additional devices too.

“We wanted to make charging a natural part of your home, so we chose side tables and lamps – the kind of furniture that’s used frequently – and turned them into wireless chargers. Not only do they make your home more beautiful, they make it easier to charge wherever you are. Now you can have a charger that helps you read the Sunday crossword.”

IKEA Introduces Wireless Charging– Making Life at Home More Convenient – Wireless Power Consortium press release (2 March 2015)

So you get a desk with a big + sign on it. Leave your phone on that and, if the technology gods allow, the phone will be charged. It’ll depend on your phone, on whether you’ve just spilt coffee all over your desk, it’ll depend on all sorts of things. But if it works for you, it’ll work well and you’ll have paid from £30 for the furniture. That seems a bit low: bet you it’s £30 for the charger and then something more for the wood.

Read the whole press release for more.

Oh, I’m having this: an interactive guide to saving phone battery life

Wall Huggers we’re called and wall huggers we are. Mind you, before mobile phones I was always developing that second sense that tells you where you are most likely to find a mains socket. But for those times when you can’t plug in to an outlet, there is now this:

This interactive guide shows you how to make the most of your phone’s ​battery life. Just choose the make and model of your phone from the drop-down menu and learn how to stay juiced.

How To Save Your Smartphone’s Battery Life – (no author listed, it must be Don’t List Writers Day), Digg (24 October 2014)

Read the full piece.

Charge your audience by the laugh

A comedy club in Barcelona is experimenting with charging users per laugh, using facial-recognition technology to track how much they enjoyed the show.

The software is installed on tablets attached to the back of each seat at the Teatreneu club.

Each laugh is charged at 0.30 euros (23p) with a cap of 24 euros (£18). Takings are up so far.

Comedy club charges per laugh with facial recognition – Jane Wakefield, BBC News Online (9 October 2014)


Quick travel tip: power your phone without an adaptor

Check your hire car’s radio. If it has an a USB socket for playing music via your iPhone, it will also charge the phone. Not much. But enough.

The ideal is for you to have an adaptor that plugs into the cigaratte lighter but – no, actually, the ideal is for batteries to last longer but if wishes were horses we’d all be in the supermarket meat trade. If you don’t have an adaptor and you do have a low battery, the radio trick will work.

I just did this in France, driving about four hours with my iPhone on the red-line 5% battery level. At the end of it, when I peeled myself out of the car and slithered across the pavement like all my muscles had been erased, the iPhone was still at the 5% redline.

But it had worked as my GPS SatNav all the way.

So it’s not like you’re going to get a lot of power out of this radio USB connector. But you’ll get enough.