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  1. Electric car charging interoperability is the next big thing in mobility More companies sign bilateral agreements, but there's an even better solution out there. Enlarge Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images Last week, we reported that Electrify America and ChargePoint had just inked a roaming agreement allowing their customers to use each other's electric car charging networks. On Tuesday, another major network, EVgo, announced it has also signed agreements, this time with ChargePoint and EV Connect. In a press release, EVgo says that the agreements will mean EVgo customers will have access to 400 new fast charging stations in addition to the 750 DC fast chargers the company currently operates in the US. "EVgo’s two new bilateral interoperability agreements will make charging for EVgo customers even more convenient through our strengthened commitment to open standards, collaboration, and innovation," said Cathy Zoi, EVgo's CEO. As Zoi's statement points out, this deal—like the Electrify America/ChargePoint one before it—is a bilateral agreement between individual networks. That's great if you're an EVgo customer who wants to use a ChargePoint charger without creating a new user account. But it's obviously no help if (for example) you're an Electrify America customer who needs to plug in to an EVgo charger. Luckily, there is a solution that may work better for the end-user: over in Europe, Hubject appears to point the way. It was created in 2012 and is owned by three German automakers (BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen) as well two technology companies (Siemens, Bosch) and a pair of utilities (EnBW, Innogy). "They came together to solve the issue of charging and roaming," said Paul Glenney, Hubject's North American CEO. This group's solution to the interoperability problem is called eRoaming, and it works in a similar manner to the way mobile phone users can seamlessly use other networks while traveling. The arrangement doesn't mean EV owners need to run out and add a Hubject account. All of this should be invisible to the end user—Hubject's actual customers are the charging networks or utilities. Its platform provides an API that different charging networks can use to make that interoperability painless for drivers. "Our software is middleware that runs between network providers in a hub architecture," Glenney explained. "For example, an OEM who wants all to be able to display charging stations on their smartphone app and infotainment system would connect to Hubject, and the driver gets real-time dynamic point-of-information of where chargers are, services around there, pictures of the charging station, and so on," he said. "It will also tell the user if the charger is available, being repaired, and so on. As you drive around, you can access different charging providers as long as they’re on the network." Hubject came to the US in 2017. Last year, the EV charging networks Blink and Moev signed on as a partners. Source: Electric car charging interoperability is the next big thing in mobility (Ars Technica)
  2. Logitech finally finds a good use for wireless charging: A mouse pad With a Powerplay mouse pad, never again will your wireless mouse run out of power. Guys... guys. Put down your morning coffee. Loosen any tight clothing. Say a quick prayer to your favoured deity. Logitech has done it. Logitech has found a legitimate use for wireless charging: the Powerplay mouse pad, which constantly charges your wireless mouse. Your wireless mouse will never again run out of battery. The Powerplay bundle ($100 in the US, probably £90 in the UK) consists of a wireless charging base, two mousing surfaces (soft and hard) that you can switch between, and a powercore module. (Did Logitech hire the Nvidia marketing guru who came up with "Forceware" or something?) The powercore is a little puck that plugs into Powerplay-compatible wireless mice. At launch there will be two of them: the G903 (a tweaked G900) and the G703 (which is similar to the G403). Both mice are available later this month, but UK pricing is still TBC (probably £140 and £90 respectively). Theoretically, future wireless Logitech mice will support the powercore, so you can keep using the same Powerplay charging mat. Sadly, Powerplay doesn't use a standardised wireless charging tech like Qi; rather, Logitech has apparently spent the last few years developing something proprietary. Technical details are scant, though we know it's based on magnetic resonance wireless power transfer—a fairly well-known technique. Basically, there's a coil of wire (an antenna) in the powercore. In the charging mat, there's another antenna tuned to the same frequency as the powercore. When power is flowing through one of the coils, it makes the other coil resonate, which can then be turned into electricity. More at Source
  3. Will our phones be perpetually fully-charged in the future? Disney Research has successfully turned an entire room into a wireless charging station -- and the invention could be a total game-changer for the digitally-obsessed. The study tested a method called Quasistatic Cavity Resonance, which induces electrical currents in an enclosed metallic structure. The power is generated and amplified outside the room, which is picked up by a coil receiver inside the room and transmitted to discrete capacitors within a copper pole. The induced currents flow through the pole, ceiling, walls and floor, generating an electromagnetic field. POSTER NOTE: It hasn't been that many years ago that doctors were warning us about the connection between brain tumors and cell phone use. There were also cases of physical problems in people who lived near high tension power lines. So might this be a case of getting your brain fried while you get your phone charged? Source
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