The best in wire free living from both today and tomorrow.
Issue: Jun 2009
Philips Wireless Music System fills your entire house with music with no wires running from room to room.
Everyday, strand by strand, we are moving closer to freeing ourselves from the Gordian Knots of tangled wires that lurk behind our home entertainment systems and the appliance power cords that snake their way across our kitchen worktops, jockeying for outlet space. Research and development teams are working hard and fast on solutions to these and other problems. No sooner is a device brought to market, than another designer is trying to reinvent it, minus its tether.
The first cordless phone was introduced around 1980. Despite its significant interference, static and range problems, the fact that one could walk from room to room with it made it a tremendous success. The first mobile phone caused a similar stir; again, despite its great size, the freedom it brought was worth the effort of lugging it around. The Internet has been described by many as a revolution in the availability of information, however, it was just the first tentative steps out of the primordial pond to enlightenment compared to the advent of wireless Internet, which has enabled us to be connected anytime and virtually anywhere, to have a world of knowledge in our hands wherever we go. Thinking of it that way, the Internet without the wire has been the true revolution. It seems none of us like to be tied down and, luckily, pretty soon we will not have to be. Not only are our gadgets going wireless, they're getting smarter too.
Electronics giant Philips has been actively working towards the goal of a wireless home. The Philips Wireless Music System is an excellent step in that direction. The main Centre can store up to 1,500 CDs, stream music from your PC or tune into Internet radio. You can then wirelessly stream all this music to up to 5 additional stations placed around your home. No cables or hassle involved.
The Philips HTS335W 5.1 Home Cinema, with its rear wireless speaker system, means you can enjoy high-definition video with surround sound without having to run wiring under your carpet or around your skirting boards.
Sony's wireless TV LF-X1
Televisions are also getting an upgrade, losing all the cords and going portable by adding a base station that transmits images and audio to the monitor via a wireless network (the base station has inputs for cable or satellite receivers and DVD player).
Sony's wireless TV LF-X1 has Wi-Fi Internet connectivity giving you the ability to surf the Internet with a built-in browser, stream movies, video and content like email and news directly from the Internet. You can also access content from your computer's hard drive such as games, photographs and music.
Gadgets that are already cordless still require cords and plugs to recharge batteries. Companies like American based WildCharge and several others are working hard on ridding us of these ties too. Resonant Inductive Coupling is a technology set to free us from the tangles of charging wires. It will soon be possible to recharge our mobile phones, cameras and even laptops by simply laying the devices down on a special mat. This technology can be integrated into a desk or workbench so when you pick up your devices they will always be fully charged and ready to go. The same technology can also be used for running kitchen appliances, liberating our power outlets from dangerous overloading and worktops from messy wires. Simply place an equipped blender onto the enabled countertop and you are ready to blend. Currently the device needs a special attachment but as the technology spreads most of the products we use will have the necessary power receiver built in.
Life made easier with no strings attached
Technology is supposed to make life easier, but sometimes it is hard to imagine how much easier. Can you imagine a refrigerator that does your shopping for you? Well that's not so far off. Samsung is developing smart refrigerators that will use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to control inventory.
RFID refrigerators make sure you are never out of supplies
The idea is that food stored in the refrigerator will have RFID tags embedded into its packaging. The refrigerator will have an antenna that scans the tags and when a product is running low or about to expire, it will send a shopping list via an Internet connection to a shop that will then deliver a replacement without you ever having to go to the store.
LG is also looking at RFID technology, this time for washing machines. It is working on a machine that will scan RFID tags on clothing and set itself to the perfect wash cycle for those items. You'll never accidentally wash a red sock with white linens again! Just another example of technology living up to its promise of making life easier.
The last step to being truly free from wires will be the fruition of wireless electrical power. Dubbed by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as WiTricity, as in wireless electricity, it has been demonstrated and proven to work by lighting a light bulb from more than two metres away, although the researchers have some way to go before this system is ready for the home. When it is ready, it will be possible to beam power from a central location to all enabled devices in equipped rooms negating the need to plug anything into wall sockets. Now that really is living free, wirelessly. Where you can find the above Style Picks:
1) SAMSUNG Home Theatre System Challenger
VivoCity # 02-34/35
1 Harbourfront Walk
Telephone: (65) 6376 6100
2) WildCharge. While not yet available in shops in Singapore you can go to their website and they will help you get one into your home. www.wildcharge.com
3) S-AIR Digital Wireless surround kit Sony Gallery
IMM Building #01-23/24/25
2 Jurong East Street 21
Telephone: (65) 6566 9212
4) The Apple Time Capsule. Best Denki
IMM Building #02-38
2, Jurong East Street 21
Telephone: (65) 6564 4022