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eCoupled Interview

eCoupled Interview

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Published by aen
Frost Sullivan Interviews Fulton Innovation on eCoupled Technology
Frost Sullivan Interviews Fulton Innovation on eCoupled Technology

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Published by: aen on Jan 03, 2008
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11/30/2013

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Frost & Sullivan Market Insight
 
Published: 28 Nov 2007
 
Movers and Shakers Interview Fulton Innovation LLC
Date Published:
28 Nov 2007eCoupled
wireless technology from Fulton Innovation LLC
eCoupled™
is an intelligent wireless technology developed by
FultonInnovation LLC
, a member of the
Alticor Inc.
family of companies.Fulton Innovation is a company that is dedicated to the promotion andcommercialization of new and innovative technologies for the globalmarketplace.
Vishal Sapru (VS), Industry Manager for the Power Systems Groupand Anu Cherian(AC), Industry Analyst with the Power SystemsGroup had the opportunity to interview Fulton Innovation (FI) abouteCoupled Technology. Here are some of the key discussions in theinterview.
 
 
 
(VS): eCoupled Technology, as your website states, is “intelligentwireless power”. Could you, in a few words, introduce the companyas well as the markets that you consider as primary targets for thecompany?(FI):
Let us start at a very high level and then work into some of thedetails of that question. Fulton Innovation is a new division within theAlticor family of companies. Alticor is a $6.5 billion company based in Ada,Michigan near Grand Rapids. You might know Alticor as the parentcompany of Amway. Fulton Innovation was formed over a year ago tolicense the new and innovative technologies that we have developed in theAdvanced Technology R&D departments within Alticor. So, FultonInnovation is a licensing organization and a technology solutions provider.One of the technologies we developed internally is a wireless power deliverymethod that we have trademarked as “eCoupled”. It was developed,tested, and incorporated into one of Alticor’s eSpring™ water purificationsystems to allow for the elimination of cords and connectors, simplifydesign, increase reliability, and lower production costs. The technology isvery disruptive and revolutionary since we see applications in virtually allindustries that use power. Some are more obvious than others. Toeliminate cords, connectors, and improve the safety of power delivery to avariety of devices, eCoupled Technology is basically, as our website states, “intelligent wireless power”. It is based on inductive coupling which hasbeen around since the late 1800’s. While inductive coupling itself is notnecessarily new, what is new is the way that we identify, seek resonance,and adapt power delivery to optimize power transfer and maximizeefficiency. Using our advanced knowledge of electronics andelectromagnetic properties, we can provide power from a primary powersource to a secondary device at efficiency levels never before achieved.Fulton Innovation has roughly 200 patents around eCoupled technology - 60in the US now and over 200 internationally. We had 20 new patents in thefirst half of this year alone. We continue to expand the breadth and depthof the technology because much of its advancement is based on our owntesting, experience, and design knowledge. The technology, as wediscussed, is very adaptable and can be applied to a wide range of designsolutions across dozens of industries. Consumer electronics would be oneexample of a very large industry (a couple $100 million in the US alone)and, in that application, we are looking at a new universal ubiquitous way of  providing power without cords or connectors to a variety of devices andwithin ecosystems where interoperability is important. We want our cellphones, PDAs, music players, digital cameras, and GPS devices to moveseamlessly from our homes, to our cars, to our offices, and have themcharge or power directly as we move across these environments. In anecosystem such as your car, you might have a universal charging platform
 
built into the glove box or armrest whereby you could simply drop a varietyof devices into it and have them all charge simultaneously. So, in multipleenvironments, we can provide power universally to a variety of devices.
(VS): Is it still in the implemental stage or have you implementedit? What, in your opinion, are the opportunities for this technology?(FI):
As we stated previously, the technology was originally deployed inour eSpring water treatment system approximately six years ago and thatproduct is currently being sold in 36 countries around the world. It hasbeen certified for safety worldwide, meeting or exceeding CISPR 14 and 22,FCC Part 15 and EMI requirements. We have sold well over 1.5 million unitsaround the world. So, we have over 10 years of development experienceand we have had an eCoupled-enabled product in the market for over 6years. Our particular design challenge was that we needed to power a lightbulb enclosed within a carbon filter that had water flowing through it. Asyou know, water is very corrosive to exposed metal and harmful toelectrical connectors so we decided to investigate ways to completely sealthe bulb from exposure to water. The water initially goes through thecarbon filter in order to remove any large particles and then, in order toinsure that the water is completely safe, we use an on-demand UV bulb tokill any potential microbes or bacteria which might remain in the water.Utilizing eCoupled technology, we are able to connect through half an inchof plastic and air to energize a UV bulb and disinfect the water in real timewithout any connectors. That was the original embodiment of thetechnology, but what we’re doing today at Fulton is taking that coretechnology and implementing it in a variety of charging and power deliveryapplications. In the consumer electronics industry, we have mentioned ourpartnership with Motorola for cellular telephones. We are also working witha number of industry leading companies in the automotive infrastructureindustry and Herman Miller in home office infrastructure. In the consumerelectronics area we are working with an assortment of companies todevelop interoperable standards with the ultimate goal for eCoupled tobecome the international standard for wireless power delivery. eCoupled isflexible and scalable and, because of these characteristics, it is able tosatisfy a wide range of industry specifications. We are also working in avariety of other areas with companies that, due to confidentialityagreements, we cannot mention publicly. However, you can imagine thetremendous value in applications such as implantable medical devices.Pacemakers and cardio defibrillators are powered by batteries which mustbe replaced every four to five years. Simply replacing these batteriesrequires another expensive and painful surgery. Incorporating eCoupledtechnology into these devices could allow for extended battery and devicelife and result in a reduction in the number of these potentially life-threatening invasive surgeries. Patient monitoring systems, infusionpumps, and other devices used in hospitals where maintaining a sterileenvironment is critical, are also logical applications for eCoupledtechnology. Another big application we see is in lighting – in both

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