[AI] Power sharing? PCs can do it too
syed.fame at gmail.com
Sun Jul 29 20:35:45 EDT 2007
Indian engineers patent a technique to share battery power
Mid-air refuelling: Intel India's Vishwa Hassan has co-invented a way of using one computing device to provide power to another, 'on the fly.'
Bangalore: It's not just politicians who can work out power-sharing arrangements: Personal computers can do it too - soon. Engineers at the Bangalore development centre of the world's largest chip maker, Intel, have developed a method which enables a laptop or handheld computer, which has run out of battery back-up, to draw power from another computer, rather than having to wait till one locates a source of mains power.
The patented technique will also work between dissimilar devices - that means a small hand-held device - a smart phone on pocket computer - can be used to temporarily power up a laptop.
The Hindu has obtained a copy of the patent documentation filed by Intel with the U.S. Patent Office and on Saturday, the 'brains' behind the invention,
Vishwa Hassan, Director of Strategy, Architecture and Innovation at In tel South Asia, Bangalore, explained the circumstances that triggered off this technique:
it must be on the wish list of all connected 'road warriors' who have run out of battery power just when they need to use their portable PCs for some critical
surfing. (Sandeep Bhatia, Mr. Hassan's co-applicant, named in the patent application, is no longer with Intel.)
'Some three years ago, I was working, while on a long flight from Singapore to Los Angeles, when the battery of my laptop ran down. My colleagues travelling with me, had their own laptops - but there was no way for me to borrow a battery pack because the machines were all of different makes and no two power packs could be interchanged. It set me thinking how nice it would be if one could connect a laptop which has lost its power and temporarily share power with another laptop whose batteries were still working."
Out of that mini crisis, was born the invention that Mr. Hassan and Mr. Bhatia put together: it enables the power available in one computing device to charge the batteries of a second device.
In a second scenario, a device with a battery power source can provide power to another device without a battery.
The patent document claims that this will work between heterogeneous devices - notebook PCs, hand-held computers, games consoles, wireless devices, audio-video players..
Mr. Hassan suggests that manufacturers who exploit the invention would not have to change anything in the existing design of the computers or devices - only in the external battery or mains power units. He also foresees that the connection between 'donor' and 'recipient' machine, need not be a physical wire: with technologies such as Wireless USB connectors, just announced, the link could be wireless too.
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