WHAT IS WIRELESS POWER CHARGING?

The word “wireless” is often associated with wifi – but in this case, it’s simply not the same. Wireless power is simply the transfer of energy without the use of connecting cords or cables. In other words, wireless power enables charging smart devices without the need to plug them in.

In reference to this blog about charging, wireless charging accomplishes the same goal through a different method. Broken down into simpler terms, wireless charging is created by the transferring of an electrical current.

A few common examples of wireless charging include pads on desk surfaces for charging phones, phone cases that charge, and electric toothbrush stands. In order to use wireless power properly, one’s device must be compatible. As you can see from the aforementioned examples, wireless charging can take different forms and is utilized differently in various spaces.

According to Power By Proxi, “by eliminating the use of physical connectors and cables, wireless charging provides a number of efficiency, cost and safety advantages over the traditional charging cable.” This form of charging is safer by eliminating trip hazards and potential fire hazards of using frayed cables. It is also cost-effective in the long run by accommodating more people with fewer products and only requiring one purchase (see examples).

 

 

Inductive Coupling

 

Inductive coupling might be the most commonly considered and used form of wireless power. This technology has been around a bit longer than other popular forms of wireless charging. In fact, it’s probably how you charge your electric toothbrush. A coil in the charging stand actually creates a magnetic field which ultimately charges the brush.

 

 

Resonant Wireless Charging

 

Resonant charging is slightly less common. Resonant coupling was discovered by studies conducted at MIT when searching for a better solution than inductive coupling. Unsettled that inductive coupling had to be in very near proximity in order to charge, the studies set out to find a form of wireless charging that didn’t require proximity.

The studies at MIT summarized that inductive coupling encourages efficiency whereas resonant coupling is all about convenience. Both have different applications, and you can discover more about them in this article. Both are entirely safe to be used in buildings (including schools and hospitals) as a means of providing power and charging without the cords and cables usually envisioned when planning the design of buildings requiring power.

HOW DOES WIRELESS CHARGING CHANGE POWER IN THE WORKPLACE?

Imagine an office setting that is no longer tethered to a 6ft cable. Now imagine a workplace scenario where smartphones can be left sitting out on pads and in troughs to charge. The future is here – and keeping up with this technology as it advances will be critical in not only improving the way people interact with your designs but also with how people interact with their devices and (by proxy) their passions.

With such a demand for charging in order to stay connected, workspace design has been confined to specific layouts. And while technology and design have both evolved into beautiful, efficient, and creative solutions, limiting the need for cords even a small amount opens up the possibilities that much more. Wireless power has set designers free – so start speccing with this incredible technology today.

Learn more about how wireless power has changed and will continue to change the design of spaces in this blog.

You’re probably the coworker that scares all IT and safety managers to death.

Why?

Oh let’s see, because you always have a coffee mug filled to the brim on your desk? Or your stylish water tumbler tucked out of your sight lines behind your computer monitor so you can take cute Instagram pictures of your work space?

Imagine the havoc spilling any liquid near a system of electrical outlets would wreak. Not just on your computer, but potentially anyone else who is plugged into the same outlet or stretch of outlets.

But coffee is essential to creativity and directly linked to job happiness, so don’t put that cup away just yet.

HOW DO SPILL-PROOF SIMPLEXES IMPROVE WORK PRODUCTIVITY AND SAFETY?

Enter: spill-proof technology. A UL tested and approved simplex, this design allows for a safer environment with liquids near electrical outlets.

In order for an outlet to be considered Spill-Proof, it must pass the UL Spill Test. This test was developed to ensure that there would be no electrical shock in the event of a liquid spilling on a power unit utilizing the Spill-Proof technology. (The spill test is performed with nothing plugged in the unit) This means that if the circuit breaker in the electrical closet trips, you can unplug everything and start mopping up the coffee. Once the breaker has been reset, the systems will continue to run unaffected and you are able to finish cleaning up your spilled coffee while your coworkers all Snapchat your shame.

HOW DOES THE SPILL-PROOF TECHNOLOGY WORK?

To pass the UL Spill Test, liquid can’t create a path between hot, neutral, and ground terminals.

But what does that even mean?

 

Simplex A

This is a simplex (Simplex A) designed for flush-mounted power units (i.e. a power unit integrated into your desk surface where your computer and monitor are plugged in). All three openings required for establishing an electrical current (hot, neutral, and ground terminals) cannot allow liquid to bridge across them. You can note that these three openings have edges for the upward-facing-mounted power units specifically developed to stave away liquids from creating an electrical path between the terminals.

For this to work on power units on an angle or in troughs underneath the desktops themselves, there is a separate Spill-Proof simplex (Simplex B) that has passed the UL Spill Test as well.

Simplex B

Again, liquid cannot the liquid to pool across the terminal in order to pass the UL Spill Test.

SPILL-PROOF TECHNOLOGY IS IMPROVING WORKSPACES AND DESIGNS

When designing spaces or developing marketing material around new spaces, be sure to include Spill-Proof Technology. Not only does it improve the longevity of the workspace and the safety of its immediate value, but it also means you can enjoy that Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte with Almond Milk at your desk.

People are changing the way we work every single day. And technology slowly shifts to match the new trends that people create. If you want your spaces to be designed around people or marketing to people, then it’s imperative to incorporate the necessary technology and upgrades to do so.

 

When designing a space with electrical outlets, it’s always important to assess ways to improve the safety of the space. Whether you are designing a brand new start-up facility or even if you are just remodeling your own kitchen at home, it is imperative to arm yourself with safety knowledge.

A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is a unique device developed for just that reason. GFCI shuts off an electrical circuit if it detects that the current is flowing through an unintended path. And in spaces with water and people for example, this device can be life-saving.

3 BENEFITS OF GFCI OUTLETS IN YOUR DESIGN

Reduces Chances of Human Injury

 

Electric shocks can cause a lot of harm to a person. With possible injuries ranging from severe burns to heart problems, GFCI truly can be a life-saving preventative measure taken.

Electric shocks can cause a lot of harm to a person. With possible injuries ranging from severe burns to heart problems, GFCI truly can be a life-saving preventative measure taken.

 

 

Prevents Some Instances of Fires

 

Electrical fires can be caused by a number of accidents, including when a live wire comes into contact with a metal conduit. Electrical fires are devastating and can burn down entire buildings. Implementing GFCI outlets into your design may help prevent such accidents.

 

 

Required By Code in Certain Places

 

The National Electrical Code (NEC) is continuously updating to ensure the safety of people in spaces where electricity applies as our lives continue to shift.

GFCI OUTLET REQUIREMENTS IN THE NEC

The NEC divides its requirements for GFCI outlets between commercial buildings and dwellings as follows:

NEC Requirements for GFCI Outlets in Commercial and Industrial Buildings

Aimed at preventing water from tampering with outlets, these particular outlets in these particular rooms must always be GFCI protected in commercial and industrial buildings.

The total list of spaces that must have GFCI protection on electrical outlets is crazy long and changes as new revisions are released. For example, the 2017 revision includes; bathrooms, kitchens, rooftops, outdoor outlets, outlets within 6 feet of any type of sink, all indoor wet locations, locker rooms with shower facilities, garage service bays and boat hoists.

In regards to NEC standards, check with your local authorities. Not all states and municipalities adopt the standards as soon as they are released, and some may make modifications. Check out our ChicagoSan Francisco and other blogs for further clarifications.

NEC Requirements for GFCI Outlets in Dwellings

In residential buildings, the NEC has slightly different rules surrounding GFCI outlets. And this is critical knowledge for any furniture designer, interior designer, or home remodeling contractor. Make sure you know which outlets and rooms are required to be protected for any upcoming DIY home projects you may have in mind as well!

All of the following spaces require protection with GFCI outlets for all 15A and 20A, 125V outlets:

  • Residential bathrooms
  • Garages, unfinished basements, or any shed used for storage or as a workspace
  • Outdoor outlets
  • Kitchens and wet bars
  • Outlets located within 6 feet of any sink
  • Boathouses
  • Bathtubs and shower stalls
  • Laundry areas

One last caveat: there are some very exact exceptions to some of these “requirements,” but they are very limited and when dealing with the safety inspections. It’s always best to err on the side of being too safe than the opposite.