‘The Essential Kitchen’ with Kevin Henry: Look Ma, No Wires

Imagine a kitchen where you will no longer have to wander about like a desert nomad with your blender or toaster in hand searching for an oasis of power or at least a clear space near a free outlet.

The idea of wireless electricity was first conceived by legendary inventor, Nikola Tesla in the early 1900’s. His idea was to build giant transmission towers across the US that would emit an electrical frequency that your home appliance or light bulb would receive and be powered, much in the same way as a radio picks up a broadcast signal. After a major legal battle that was finally settled in the Supreme Court on the side of GE and Thomas Edison, Tesla and his idea of free electricity faded into obscurity.

But all is not lost, Sony Japan announced that it has developed a highly efficient wireless power transfer systems that elements the use of cables or cords for small appliances. The new system can transfer wirelessly 60w of electrical energy over a distance of nearly 24” with 80 percent efficiency. This new technology is based on magnetic resonance, where two or more devices can transfer energy when using the same resonant frequencies.

The idea requires embedding a line-connected power transmitter into a counter-top, table top or wall, which then transmits power to an adapted appliance placed near or on the transmitter without the need for a cord between the transmitting or receiving elements.

Once developed to its full potential, you would be able to place any future portable household appliance, such as a toaster, blender, coffee maker or can-opener anywhere in the kitchen you would like to work without the need of a power-cord, plug or socket.

One of the greatest benefits of this new technology will be safety with the near elimination for electric shock. Gone will be the days of socket guards and curious hands and just think of the fun of making margaritas poolside with no need for plug. The possibilities are endless, and the modern kitchen as we know it, will continue to open up and expand its borders as new technology and applications continue to emerge.

Now Mr. Tesla…about that “free” electricity idea?

(Kevin Henry is a designer, writer and speaker with over 25 years of experience in the kitchen industry. Henry has been behind the success of such brands as Snaidero, Poliform/Varenna, Küppersbusch, ALNO in North America and Bazzeo Earth Friendly Kitchens. Currently, he is the president and creative director at Group42, a design + marketing collective dedicated to redefining the boundaries of the modern kitchen. He can be reached at kmhenry@group42.net)