04 September 2009

A wireless future for electricians?

Tangled powercords a thing of the past? [Photo courtesy: JAMM]

Light bulbs powered by wireless electricity that travels several feet from a power socket. Think that's the stuff of science fiction? Tell that to Eric Giler, CEO of WiTricity, a company that's already able to do this, and predicts that electronics such as phones and laptops may start shedding their power cords within a year. Such is the theme of this interesting article on CNN.

The technology is already working on numerous test vehicles and is set to go commercial soon. At a Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, power tools inside an industrial van parked outside a special booth receive signals that their battery is running low and start charging themselves - all while still inside their case. An LCD TV is powered by a coil hidden behind a painting a few feet away. And a power hungry ipod charges itself up when brought within 2 metres of this coil.

A company named Powercast has already sold wireless artificial Christmas trees strung with LED lights for about $400. Still beyond the ordinary Australian's budget, but this shows how near this wireless future is.

What does this mean for an electrician? First, it reiterates what was said in this video post. Besides the practical side of the job that requires manual skills, electricians need to have an aptitude for the academic side of the business to be successful. Like any other technology related field, electrical technology is fast changing. Devices and methodologies keep changing and electricians need to keep up with it and retrain and upskill themselves at all times. We attend many trainings in new fields such as home automation to stay in touch with the newest tools and developments.

And of course, new developments mean a lot of fun. Imagine how cool it would be to be the first few electricians who can offer you a wire-free home that automatically charges cell phones and laptops and magically powers blenders and heaters with not a cord in sight. Go WiTricity, go Powercast! Bring on the innovation. We can't wait to share the fun!