Some time back I had posted about Microsoft Office Labs GM showing that the technology showed in the Montage video isn’t that far. I came across a patent filed by Microsoft Researchers in Asia showing a charging pad for portable devices which builds on the theme set by the Montage video. The patent reveals a charging pad for portable devices like cell phones and media players. The charging pad is said to have the following features:

  • Accelerometer
  • An OLED screen
  • Ambient lights
  • Internet access (wired and wireless)

The charging pad is an inductive charging source. A simple definition of Inductive Charging comes from Wikipedia:

Inductive charging uses the electromagnetic field to transfer energy between two objects. A charging station sends energy through inductive coupling to an electrical device, which stores the energy in the batteries. Because there is a small gap between the two coils, inductive charging is one kind of short-distance wireless energy transfer.

The patent talks about the process that would take place for charging a device. The pad will operate in 3 modes:

  1. Idle Mode – Conserving power when nothing is placed.
  2. Load Detection – when a device to be charged is placed.
  3. Charging Mode – once a device has been detected, charging is initiated.

While this might not sound as cool, what follows is:

According to the patent, devices to be charged can be placed on any side of the pad. The device is said to have accelerometers to detect which side of the pad is facing up and charging will be done via that side. The charging pad is proposed to have an OLED screen to display information (with graphics) such as:

  • Weather conditions
  • Sports scores
  • News headlines

All this information can be fetched through a wired or a wireless connection to a PC with an Internet connection. Here are some images from the patent application:

Microsoft Charging Pad

Microsoft Charging Pad

Now this would make for an awesome accessory for the ZuneHD and a Windows Phone 7 Series device.

Update: The guys at gottabemobile came across what look like prototype pictures of the pad uploaded on Flickr by user huiwen_ji who I presume worked on the project (and according to her LinkedIn profile was a visiting student at MSFT Asia, that would explain the MBP) . Images:

Microsoft Charging Pad Prototype

Microsoft Charging Pad Prototype

Microsoft CHarging Pad Prototype

Microsoft CHarging Pad Prototype

My thoughts:

a) looks smaller than I thought, if the device will cover the display I find no point in having that display to be honest.

b) this charging pad is way too cool to be just a mouse charger.

Update: #2 The guys at Engadget got tipped about a video of the “uPad”: