Help tracking down info on a product concept...

I’m trying to track down some info about a concept I remember seeing within the last few years.

It had to do with charging a cell phone, PDA, etc by placing it in a dish-like vessel that would also sync it with a computer for data transfer purposes. I remember seeing some cool visuals as well. The dish would glow when the phone or similar object was placed in it. I don’t think the concept was specific to a manufacturer, but more of a blue-sky, forward-looking way of interacting with information.

I realize this is kind of vague, but I’d appreciate it if anyone has a link or more info…

Thanks for the help!

Inductive charging. Very cool but not very eco-efficient because current must be converted into a magnetic field and then back again. Losses in transformers can be ~40% either way. RFID is based on this, but at much lower power level.


Also not practical as it takes substantially more time to charge. (Like all-night vs. a few hours.)

These concepts flourished in the mid 1990’s (bowls with “magic” data pebbles etc.), but today the “sync” idea is obsolete considering that all this easily happens over the air, and the idea of data being captured in an external physical device is likewise antiquated in an age of “life drives” and network accessible storage.

But I personally like the idea of a “charging appliance” like a refrigerator for gadgets. Just throw them in and freshen the charge. I would think that a creative contact-charge method would solve the problem–one that didn’t require “plugs.”

The “ambient information” (like the “blue glow” you mention) is also a hot area I expect to see exploited ad-nausem in the next few years. Gotta love those blue and white LEDs!

I could see the “sync” concept still being valid as you could have a passive initiation of the data transfer by placing the phone into the bowl, rather than the alternatives of a more active process of navigating an interface menu on the phone, or the uber-passive method of having it sync up automatically when within a certain proximity. The life drive concept would render this useless I guess. I suppose that would fall into the uber-passive category as well. As you update the life drive info, the rest of your stuff would update as well.

Regardless of its current relevance, I would still appreciate a link if anyone has one. I liked the way the concept was handled…

I believe it was called ‘Splashpad’.

Thanks slippyfish…that’s not the one same one I’m looking for, but the concept is similar…

wasn’t there a thread on this in S&T or maybe even Projects? or a related thread w someone posting the link. rings a bell.

Yeah, there was this discussion which mentioned, and had a link to, the Splashpower concept mentioned above.

That tpoic was focused primarly on wireless power transfer. What I’m referring to had that as a feature, I believe, but the focus had more to do with information sharing between devices. It was also much more furniture-like, sitting on a table or desk, with a very elegant form…

This appeared in the latest Design Within Reach catalog: “Multipot Personal Electric Charger”

…Seems spot-on with what NATE was referencing. And yes, it glows. Oddly small for the price, I’d need three of these things!

DWR claims design credit.

nah, DWR just have the exclusive US distrabution deal. Here’s the story, including who designed it:

How is that more than a power strip inside a bucket? What am I missing?