When Will Your Desk Go Wireless?

At NeoCon, our editor in chief glimpses the future of mobile, energy-efficient computing.

Even at NeoCon, the ground zero of wire management, the wires resist management.

Imagine a time when you don’t need to carry around your bulky, tangled chargers for your laptop and various PDAs, a day when there are no wires snaking across your living room floor as your computer powers up. Now, imagine no wires in sight. You simply put your laptop or phone on a flat surface and voilá, you’re charging and ready to communicate. This is not a far-fetched idea; it can start happening as soon as 2010.

I took this shot in the press room at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart yesterday, the last day of Neocon. The press had mostly left town, but the wires remained.

You may have read about wireless chargers recently in the Economist, the Independent, and elsewhere. This past week I got to see how these compact instruments, soon to be standard on our electronic equipment, might integrate with our desks, tables, or any flat surface. Those of us who visited the showrooms of KI and Teknion at NeoCon, the trade show for contract and commercial furnishings held at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart every June, saw the future. Instead of sophisticated wire-management systems, common to all office furniture today, small chargers will be attached under desktops, coupling with chargers on our communication units. I have great expectations of this new phase in efficient power delivery, not to mention new mobility in the workplace. I, for one, am ready to detach and detangle.

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