Imagine having just one power supply for all your portable gadgets

Summary:Last week, during an interview for this blog, I kicked the spaghetti ball of cords under my desk and accidentally switched off my telephone mid-response. Oops.

Last week, during an interview for this blog, I kicked the spaghetti ball of cords under my desk and accidentally switched off my telephone mid-response. Oops. Redfaced, I climbed underneath to plug everything back in and smacked my head in the process. Nothing new, really, for clutzy old me.

There are some who suggest that I should be climbing under that desk every evening to shut down every piece of tech, yes every one, that I rely on every day here in my office. Sorry folks, I know that this would aid the green cause but quite frankly, while I'm still limber enough to crawl around on the floor, I'd forget to do this. And as I mentioned before, it isn't all the great for my head. Imagine my extreme delight to catch up late last week with Frank Paniagua, founder and CEO of a compelling new company called Green Plug that is working on technology that could be the center of a new generation of power supplies that would help do this for me.

Green Plug is one of the start-ups being feted at the Demo conference this week (mecca of cool new technology), and it also snagged an investment this week from Peninsula Equity Partners for an undisclosed amount of money. Its core piece of intellectual property is called Greentalk, a Universal Power Protocol chip that could be used at the heart of adapters and power hubs.

According to Paniagua, there are three big reasons why power supplies that use Green Plug's technology will be greener than what's out there: 1. One power supply can juice up multiple devices. You can have your briefcase back for things like reading materials and important files instead of cords! 2. The technology will help control energy efficiency, by metering electricity use in a more controllable fashion. 3. They'll be made out of materials that are easier than current power supplies to recycle. Plus they're easier to dis-assemble (the solders are water-soluble, as just one example).

Green Plug is encouraging OEMs to adopt the technology, which means they would have to make fewer different types of adapters. Firmware will also be required on the client side. Paniagua suggests deals are in the offing that will help his company's ideas reach market by the holiday season later this year. (Yes, folks, Christmas of 2008.) But he isn't saying who's interested. Here are one or two examples of what these things may look like. I've pulled these concept drawings from Green Plug's pitch for Demo this week.

This is the "Shell" concept design, which helps keep cords tucked away and untangled.

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This one is of a hub that provides some indicators for monitoring power status and such.

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Actually, I'm going to let the CTO of Green Plug close out this post by providing some more details via this video of a presentation he made at a gathering of the Alliance for Universal Power Supplies last fall.

Topics: Hardware

About

Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist specializing in transformative technology and innovation. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. In a past corporate life, Heather was editor of Computer Reseller News. She started her journalism lif... Full Bio

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