Will customers buy more lattes if their smartphone batteries never run dry? Starbucks is about to find out with the launch of a new initiative installing wireless charging stations in stores nationwide. The devices are called “Powermat Spots,” manufactured in a joint venture by Duracell (of AA batteries fame) and Powermat Technologies. Ran Poliakane, the chief executive of Powermat, says that every smartphone and tablet on the market today will be compatible with the charging stations.
What’s the Big Idea?
Although Poliakane’s claims aren’t necessarily untrue, most current devices will require a plug-in accessory to work with the stations. This is because the technology by which the Powermat Spots charge devices isn’t yet prevalent in current phones and tablets. Installing their charging stations in omnipresent coffee shops seems to be a fairly effective way for Powermat to encourage tech developers to adopt the technology. Sadly for all the amateur screenwriters hogging tables at the local Starbucks, laptop charging is not yet available (though Poliakane promises the capability is forthcoming).
A paraplegic man kicked the first ball of the World Cup today thanks to a special mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton fashioned by scientists at Duke University. The scientific advancement could signal a future where wheelchairs become obsolete.