Hands-on: Up-mobile inductive charging system for iPhone 6 & 6 Plus, Violet UV monitor for iOS

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2015
Standing apart from a glut of iOS accessory makers at CES this year was Exelium, with its Up-mobile inductive charging system for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and Ultra, a startup that showed off a new iOS-connected UV monitor.


Up-mobile iPhone 6 and 6 Plus inductive charging system

French company Exelium brought its Up-moble magnetic inductive smartphone charging products to the showroom floor, including two new solutions for Apple's latest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets.

Inductive, or wireless, charging methods have been around for years, but Apple's reluctance to manufacture iPhones with replaceable batteries makes it impossible to use "patch" style converters that squeeze in between power contacts. Many accessory makers have instead opted for protective cases with hidden power converters that connect directly to an iPhone's Lightning port.

Exelium's Up-mobile product is in the same vein as competing case style chargers, but the company managed to fit its tech into one the thinnest solutions we've seen. Other products have a substantial "chin" to accommodate the internal Lightning plug, but Up-mobile adds on only a few millimeters, much closer to an iPhone sleeve than case.

Through the use of magnets, Up-mobile is able to dock with its accompanying power station without inserting wires or fumbling with adaptors. The form factor also allows for flexible setup options like wall mounting, docking in portrait and landscape modes and more.

One thing we don't like about current inductive charging solutions for iPhone is that most products block Lightning port access. Elexium told AppleInsider that a Lightning pass-through option is in the works and should be available in February or March.

The Up-mobile inductive iPhone 6 and 6 Plus charger is out now for $49 and another $39 to $49 for the base, depending on mounting options.

Violet UV monitor

After a successful funding round on Kickstarter, startup Ultra is bringing out its cleverly named Violet UV monitoring accessory for iOS.




The system consists of a wearable, waterproof UV sensor with built-in Bluetooth connectivity for streaming realtime exposure information to iOS devices. Worn on a wrist, belt, or clipped to a bag, Violet takes sunlight readings to measure the beneficial and detrimental effects of extended UV exposure.

Data is offloaded to the accompanying app, which processes the information and alerts users when it determines they've had too much sun. At the same time, the app estimates how long a user has to stay outside to reach optimal vitamin D production.

The app is customizable and can compensate for skin type, sunscreen applications, SPF, clothing and more, allowing for more accurate notifications. Further, Violet's software is capable of tracking multiple users at a time, each with their own personalized profiles, useful for outdoor family gatherings and beach days.

Violet is normally priced at $129, but customers who preorder before the scheduled April launch only pay $99.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    nick29nick29 Posts: 111member
    Inductive charging that isn't built into the phone is silly for most people. I can't think of anyone it would really be necessary for, maybe there is someone, but having to use a specific case to save 1 second on plugging in the lightining cable is a problem that didn't need a solution.
  • Reply 2 of 9
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member

    Nope. Keep trying, "wireless" charging.

     

    The only one that comes close is the demo tech at CES this year that can beam the power from a mat-type device to a nearby iOS device. Its technology that if licensed out, could be built into many or all home appliances in the future. This way all of your power connected appliances could serve as wireless power broadcasters for your iOS device, constantly keeping them charged, wirelessly, while in the home.

     

    Personally I think this and a combination of solar could make an iOS device conceivably last forever without being plugged in.

     

    Whatever the case, it won't be until tech like described above is readily available that Apple goes anywhere near the current gimmick that is "wireless" charging.

     

     

    "Hey look! MY phone has wireless charging! I just take this WIRE, and plug it in, and connect to this huge hideous ugly mat, find a place to put it, and then when I want to charge....I just have to come to this mat and put my phone down! Genius! Revolutionary! Apple is so behind!"

     

    I am so glad Apple has the shred of intelligence it takes to see through current systems for the useless gimmick they are, and leave it to rabid android trolls to criticize Apple for being "behind" on wireless charging.

  • Reply 3 of 9
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,397member

    Some ecological considerations:  An individual phone may (or may not) not strike you as a huge electricity consumer, but it does use more than a typical modern refrigerator, and computing in total is one of the largest uses of electricity on the planet (around 10%).



    http://science.time.com/2013/08/14/power-drain-the-digital-cloud-is-using-more-energy-than-you-think/ which notes this is "the same amount of electricity that was used to light the entire planet in 1985. We already use 50% more energy to move bytes than we do to move planes in global aviation."



    So multiply that by billions of phones (and tablets, watches, health devices, etc., etc.) and couple it with the fact that inductive charging can take roughly 20-50% as much current to deliver a charge, depending on the design and devices involved, and you have the makings of a highly undesirable, virtually unnecessary trade-off of first world convenience (IMO) in terms of sound energy management (for individuals, organizations and the earth)....



    Efficiencies comparable to direct wired are coming or in a few cases maybe already here, but I'd like to see tech publications use the efficiency of any inductive "solution" as a metric in reviewing and comparing wireless charging devices to help customers gauge what the convenience is worth.



    Hint: And if the manufacturer is not readily forthcoming with the info, a simple test for aftermarket solutions is to measure the total current draw to fully charge the same depleted device with its stock wall plug vs. via the inductive charger.



    PS: Kudos to Apple for increasingly implementing green solutions in its own data centers, server farms in its own total "footprint."

     

  • Reply 4 of 9
    anomeanome Posts: 1,465member
    As someone who lives in a country where UV exposure is a major health risk, and with a skin type that increases that risk somewhat, I'm interested in the Violet UV sensor. I expect it will get integrated into wearables, like the other health and environment sensors (Apple Watch 2, perhaps?), although having it as a separate sensor that can be attached somewhere other than the wrist is appealing.

    Wireless charging? Who cares? In a couple of years it will be standard, until then it's just a gimmick. Even if it does become standard, it's still not really solving a problem, it's just adding a feature for the heck of it.
  • Reply 5 of 9
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,425member
    bigpics wrote: »
    Some ecological considerations:  An individual phone may (or may not) not strike you as a huge electricity consumer, but it does use more than a typical modern refrigerator. 

    No it doesn't. The link you posted is full of crap, and they've had to push updates to try to justify it.

    Making some assumptions for ease of calculation:
    An iPhone is on charge 24/7. it uses about 10w of power while charging, which is a relatively small percentage of the time. Perhaps 4 hours a day at most. It drops to around 3.5w of power when it's actually running full tilt, which is hardly ever. usually it's more like 0.5 watts, but still.

    Assuming the charger has a 50% efficiency, which again is a large exaggeration, since it's nearer 85% really, means 4 hours per day charging at 20w, 20 hours per day at 7 watts when running.

    So. (0.02kw *4) + (0.007kw * 20) * 360 = 50kwh per year, which at around £0.14 per unit is 0.14*50=£7. We use around 1000kwh per year, so that's just 0.05% of our electricity usage on excessively worst case scenario. Compare that with an air-con unit that uses 2kw for 6 hours a day for 2 months, that's 700kwh alone. Time actually says "The electricity used annually to charge the iPhone is 3.5 kWh". That's not a lot. A typical fridge uses 175kwh per year.

    The Time link is misleading too in that it adds other things to the mix too that're usually already in use by other people simultaneously and by other devices, like cell towers and routers, and internet infrastructure.


    However. I completely agree that right now, wireless charging is a total waste of time and energy. You need 10x the energy to charge something inductively than you do directly, since the coils in the pad and device are so loosely coupled. Some form of microwave energy would be more efficient, however it'd also cook anything nearby, so not too safe. What's wrong with taking a second to plug the damn phone in?!
  • Reply 6 of 9
    bigpicsbigpics Posts: 1,397member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Elijahg View Post





    No it doesn't. The link you posted is full of crap, and they've had to push updates to try to justify it.



    Making some assumptions for ease of calculation:

    An iPhone is on charge 24/7. it uses about 10w of power while charging, which is a relatively small percentage of the time. Perhaps 4 hours a day at most. It drops to around 3.5w of power when it's actually running full tilt, which is hardly ever. usually it's more like 0.5 watts, but still.



    Assuming the charger has a 50% efficiency, which again is a large exaggeration, since it's nearer 85% really, means 4 hours per day charging at 20w, 20 hours per day at 7 watts when running.



    So. (0.02kw *4) + (0.007kw * 20) * 360 = 50kwh per year, which at around £0.14 per unit is 0.14*50=£7. We use around 1000kwh per year, so that's just 0.05% of our electricity usage on excessively worst case scenario. Compare that with an air-con unit that uses 2kw for 6 hours a day for 2 months, that's 700kwh alone. Time actually says "The electricity used annually to charge the iPhone is 3.5 kWh". That's not a lot. A typical fridge uses 175kwh per year.



    The Time link is misleading too in that it adds other things to the mix too that're usually already in use by other people simultaneously and by other devices, like cell towers and routers, and internet infrastructure.





    However. I completely agree that right now, wireless charging is a total waste of time and energy. You need 10x the energy to charge something inductively than you do directly, since the coils in the pad and device are so loosely coupled. Some form of microwave energy would be more efficient, however it'd also cook anything nearby, so not too safe. What's wrong with taking a second to plug the damn phone in?!



    I'll consider myself corrected on the variables you mentioned, thanks....  ....however, think it's worth noting that the total energy cost of the phone is considerably more in terms others that often get overlooked: i.e., its whole life from design, engineering, setting up production, producing, distributing, even marketing and disposing... ...and all the uploading and downloading that's done on conventionally powered nodes of the net (which is partially - if a tiny part per use, but likely trillions of uses/yr - a discrete load at various points on the grid)....



    ....on the other hand, to the extent it replaces time that would otherwise be spent using a large monitor and CPU (and possibly replacing them altogether for many) there are energy gains as well....  



    ....and you can posit others in terms of tasks made simpler, faster, more efficient.... ...and then re-subtract new novel energy uses that wouldn't exist without it...  ...etc., etc. ...depending on how much minutiae one might want to try and pin down, even if speculatively...



    Anyway, I'm hardly against the digital revolution, I just like to try and keep a modicum of perspective and oppose wasteful use. (Not that I always minimize every possible use I could every second, just looking around where I am right now, oy... ..but an inductive charger is something I can do without.)

  • Reply 7 of 9
    peteraltpeteralt Posts: 155member
    Apple needs to get with the program and introduce inductive charging in the next iPhone!

    They might since Apple Watch will have it!
  • Reply 8 of 9

    We agree. The integration of our patented Violet technology with other wearable devices is coming soon. You can follow us on our social media from www.liveultrahealthy.com. In the meantime, we will be delivering Violet and a few apps that use the UVI forecast but don't require a sensor.

  • Reply 9 of 9
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,425member
    bigpics wrote: »

    I'll consider myself corrected on the variables you mentioned, thanks....  ....however, think it's worth noting that the total energy cost of the phone is considerably more in terms others that often get overlooked: i.e., its whole life from design, engineering, setting up production, producing, distributing, even marketing and disposing... ...and all the uploading and downloading that's done on conventionally powered nodes of the net (which is partially - if a tiny part per use, but likely trillions of uses/yr - a discrete load at various points on the grid)....


    ....on the other hand, to the extent it replaces time that would otherwise be spent using a large monitor and CPU (and possibly replacing them altogether for many) there are energy gains as well....  


    ....and you can posit others in terms of tasks made simpler, faster, more efficient.... ...and then re-subtract new novel energy uses that wouldn't exist without it...  ...etc., etc. ...depending on how much minutiae one might want to try and pin down, even if speculatively...


    Anyway, I'm hardly against the digital revolution, I just like to try and keep a modicum of perspective and oppose wasteful use. (Not that I always minimize every possible use I could every second, just looking around where I am right now, oy... ..but an inductive charger is something I can do without.)

    I completely agree. Manufacturing a new device is often large proportion of the device's total energy use. It's similar to when people talk about electric cars, they're usually full of highly toxic cadmium which is hard to dispose of, and rare earth metals which come form conflict zones. They're also very energy intensive to make. Unlike Apple who use tiny amounts (1-2g) of rare earths, these car manufacturers use 20-30kg per car. Why don't they get slated for using materials from conflict zones like Apple does?! But anyway, I agree too that there is more than just the energy use by phone itself, but at the same time it's not anywhere near what they tried to make out. And inductive charging is a complete waste of energy!
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