Toyota invests in WiTricity for wireless car charging

By on April 29, 2011 at 5:59 AM.

Toyota invests in WiTricity for wireless car charging

These days when we think of wireless charging we think about using an accessory for our cell phones. Not long from now we may be using the same tech to power our electric vehicles. According to CNET, Toyota has invested in a company called WiTricity that, until now, has developed wireless charging solutions specifically for portable electronics. In a recent statement Toyota said that it “believes that resonance wireless charging is suitable for automobiles and aims for its early practical use.” Using magnetic near-field, WiTricity could potentially offer a wireless charging solution for cars, too. We’re imagining a future where, instead of pulling up to the pump, or plugging your electric car into an outlet, you simply need to drive into your garage to begin charging. “WiTricity power sources and capture devices are specially designed magnetic resonators that efficiently transfer power over large distances via the magnetic near-field. These proprietary source and device designs and the electronic systems that control them support efficient energy transfer over distances that are many times the size of the sources/devices themselves,” the firm said. Other companies, like HaloIPT, also offer wireless car-charging solutions, but this is the first we’ve heard of a major car manufacturer getting on board. More →

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Throwback Thursday: The Electric Carving Knife

By on November 25, 2010 at 3:33 PM.

Throwback Thursday: The Electric Carving Knife

Since it is Thanksgiving here in the United States, we thought it would be appropriate to cover a piece of kitchen technology in this week’s installation of Throwback Thursday. Today, in honor of the holiday, we’re covering a gadget invented over forty years ago that may be part of your T-Day celebration today, the electric carving knife.

Patented in 1964 by Jerome L. Murray, the high-tech piece of cutlery looks like a cross between a standard hand-mixer and a pair of electric hedge trimmers. The knife works its magic by rapidly moving two serrated blades back and forth over a central plane. The appliance gained popularity in the late 1960’s after is was manufactured by companies like Black & Decker, although it is less popular today thanks to one major drawback: maintenance. Electric knives have to be taken-apart and cleaned after every use to prevent the growth of bacteria between the blades and in the motor housing, making the convenience of such an appliance negligible.

Although not as popular as it once was, the knife is still used to cut the traditional Thanksgiving squab in houses all around the U.S.

Keep your ears open today, and if it sounds like someone is trimming a rhododendron bush in your kitchen… know that Mr. Murray’s electric knife is hard at work. Happy Thanksgiving!

BGR’s Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets, games, and software of yesterday and yesteryear.

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Nokia issues recall for 14 million chargers

By on November 9, 2009 at 8:36 AM.

Nokia issues recall for 14 million chargers

electric-shockToday Nokia announced a world-wide recall of three chargers made by BYD, a third party supplier. The models in question are AC-3E and AC-3U manufactured between June 15th and August 9th, 2009 and AC-4U made between April 13th to October 25th, 2009. The reason for the recall is a defect which could cause the “plastic covers of the affected chargers [to] come loose and separate, exposing the charger’s internal components and potentially posing an electric shock hazard if certain internal components are touched while the charger is plugged into a live socket.” Nokia is strongly encouraging those who believe they have a defective charger to visit http://chargerexchange.nokia.com/chargerexchange/en/ and enter in some information on their chargers label to confirm whether or not their equipment is part of the recall. So far Nokia is not aware of any injuries or property damage as a result of the affected chargers, but just to give you a general idea of how large of a recall this is, Reuters is reporting that 14 million units are affected.

More →

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Users find Apple's iPhone and iPod shocking, literally

By on May 20, 2009 at 1:33 PM.

Users find Apple's iPhone and iPod shocking, literally

No, seriously. Apple just put up a new support page in response to claims from many users regarding electrical shocks received from Apple’s iPhone and iPod earbuds. The shocks are described as “small and quick”, but clearly the issue is serious enough to warrant an official response from Apple. The aforementioned support page, found below on the read link, describes the situation as follows:

When using headphones in areas where the air is very dry, it is easy to build up static electricity and possible for your ear to receive a small electrostatic discharge from the headphones. Receiving a static shock from a pair of earbuds does not necessarily indicate an issue with the iPod, iPhone, or earbuds.

This condition is very similar to dragging your feet across a carpet and receiving a static shock by touching a door knob. However, instead of the static charge building up on your body, the charge builds up on the device that the earbuds are connected to. Likewise, instead of the static buildup discharging through your finger when you touch a door knob, it discharges through the earbuds.

Apple goes on to claim this is an issue that affects equipment from other manufacturers as well and then recommends a few solutions, such as using anti-static hand lotion or wearing “clothes with natural fibers since synthetic fibers are more likely to hold a static charge.” Umm, Apple wants people to change their wardrobes because its headphones are shocking ear canals? Yeah, so we’re going to go ahead and stick to third-party headsets from here on out. Kthx.

Thanks, Tyrone!

[Via Cnet]

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