Cereal boxes with blinking lights may or may not be the next big thing, but the underlying technology could prove useful for many other potential applications. At the recent CES in Las Vegas, Fulton Innovation displayed its light-up boxes of General Mills’ Honey Nut Cheerios and Trix cereals, which are wirelessly charged by the shelves they sit on.
The technology behind the luminous cereal boxes is called eCoupled, which uses inductive coupling to transform tabletops, shelves, and even parking lots into power sources for battery-powered devices. The surfaces are equipped with a primary transmission coil, which can provide power for multiple devices equipped with secondary receiving coils.
The devices go beyond cereal boxes to kitchen blenders, smartphones, ebook readers, laptops, electric vehicles, and more. Instead of plugging these devices into an electric outlet, you could power them by simply placing them on a surface equipped with the eCoupled technology (or in the case of the electric vehicles, driving onto an eCoupled parking lot).
At CES, Fulton Innovation demonstrated how the technology could be used to make a “self-heating” can of soup. The soup can had a heating coil built into the packaging. When placed on an eCoupled surface and an “on” button is pressed on the packaging, the soup would heat up and a light would turn on when it was ready.