The Wireless Power Consortium revealed the name of its new wireless power standard for kitchen appliances: The Ki, pronounced “key.” According to the WPC, this will be the standard for “interoperable, safe wirelessly powered kitchen devices.” If you find yourself struggling to keep all of your appliances plugged in for when you need them or you’re just tired of shuffling power cords around, Ki offers a potential solution. If you’re anywhere near IFA in Berlin, you can see live demonstrations of this technology next week.
Ki works a lot like wireless charging for phones. Transmitters are placed underneath the countertop, so any compatible appliances placed on top will receive up to 2.2kW of power. Induction cooktops are also compatible with this technology can provide power to kitchen appliances the same way. The Ki Cordless Kitchen standard uses an array of sensors so it will know when noncompatible items (like keys, phones, or your hand) are placed on top of the countertop and will not transmit power. This means you can use the countertop for everyday use without fear of shock or of other items overheating.
The Ki Cordless Kitchen standard will work with any nonmetal countertop, including marble and granite. Hans Kablau, the chairman of the WPC’s Kitchen Work Group, says “Not only will the standard allow everything from chopping vegetables to cooking to reading the newspaper to all take place on the same surface, it also enables a whole new category of smart cookware. These smart pans can be simply placed on a power transmitter spot and allow consumers to cook on their counters just as they would on their stove. With Ki Cordless Kitchen, consumers will experience an unprecedented convenience in their kitchens that they won’t want to live without.”
With this new standard, smart kitchens have the potential to look truly “smart.” The lack of power cables means more space to work in your kitchen and more freedom in where you place devices. You will no longer have to design your kitchen based on available wall outlets. The appliances will draw power when they need it, directly from the countertop.