It has happened to all of us: you’re running around town all day only to look down and realize your phone’s battery is in the red, but you don’t have your charger and you’re not going to be home any time soon. What do you do? Panasonic has the answer with a protoype it showed at the Retail Tech Expo in Tokyo of a solar-powered inductive charging table. The table is able to juice your phone, or any other device with a Qi battery, by just setting it down.
Inductive charging has been around for a few years now, but this is the first time we’ve seen a wireless version. Back in 2010 we saw the first inductive charging power mat, made by Energizer, but it needed external power to charge the devices. Panasonic’s table is unique, however, because it charges via solar power collected on the table’s surface.
Another unique aspect is that the table’s charging panel connects straight to the battery, so you don’t even have to have the battery in the phone to charge it. There’s no word yet as to how long your device would have to sit on the table before it is fully charged.
Needless to say, you can’t cover the solar panel with a nice flower arrangement or tablescape. No, you can’t even put your device on the panels. Obviously, that would block the light and deplete its energy source. However, there’s a pretty good amount of room around the panel, so we think you’ll be fine.
Seeing as many of us carry a few gadgets around each day – iPod, cell phone, camera, e-book reader, etc. – it would be nice to have a universal source of power instead of having to plug four devices in each time you need to give your gadgets a little more juice. As Japantrends.com pointed out, the table could be useful to have in restaurants and cafes so people could stop by and get a jolt of power in addition to their jolt of caffeine.
This certainly does look like a table from the future, and it seems the future of solar-powered wireless-charging tables is not far off. Panasonic said it would begin selling the table in Japan by the end of this year or early next year. No word on when the U.S. market will see it.