IKEA launches furniture that wirelessly charges smartphones and tablets
News: Swedish furniture giant IKEA has incorporated induction-charging stations into products from its latest collection, which will allow users to wirelessly charge their smartphones.
Lamps, bedside tables and desks in IKEA's new collection each have an integrated pad that can charge portable electronic devices simply by placing them on top.
"Through research and home visits, we know that people hate cable mess," said Jeanette Skjelmose, IKEA business area manager for lighting and wireless charging.
"They worry about not finding the charger and running out of power," she continued. "Our new innovative solutions, which integrate wireless charging into home furnishings, will make life at home simpler."
Wireless charging – also known as induction charging – powers up mobile devices by using an electromagnetic field to transfer energy.
When in contact, a magnetically charged coiled wire within the station induces a current in another coil located in the device, which can then use that energy to charge its own battery.
The charging pads in IKEA's furniture were developed by specialist technology company Qi. Devices with embedded Qi technology – which currently include models by Google Nexus, HTC, Samsung and Nokia – will already by compatible with the furniture products.
For phones and tablets that aren't currently supported, such as the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy models, IKEA is also launching a range of covers to allow them to perform in the same way.
The devices automatically begin charging when placed on the flat circular pads, which are identified by a subtle cross on the top.
These pads are integrated into the bases of simple lamps and the surface of small tables. IKEA is also releasing a stand-alone charging pad with three ports, for use in the office or family homes.
Another charging pad has been designed to fit into the brand's existing Micke and Stuva desks.
The wireless charging range will be available at IKEA's UK stores and website from mid-April.
IKEA's head of design Marcus Engman spoke to Dezeen about the introduction of the products to the company's range in an exclusive interview earlier this month. "We don't want to go into electronics; we want to make the home smarter," he said.
The move is just one of the changes Engman is introducing as part of his attempt to "bring the surprise back" to the brand.
Last month, IKEA debuted a range of cork and natural-fibre homeware products by designer Ilse Crawford, with more collaborations and capsule collections planned over the coming year.