Power is blocking technological progress

Image for post
Image for post

I’ve recently become a fan of Steven Dubner’s Freakonomics Radio and was listening to his interview with futurist Kevin Kelly. Having met Kevin Kelly, I’m now a devoted lifetime fan (maybe one of his 1,000 true fans).

Kevin brought up a very interesting point. One of the limiting factors today in IOT sensors and all small devices is power. Battery powered devices are a pain — not only to replace the batteries, but also for device makers to make them. There are all sorts of processing power considerations that need to be taken into account that end up requiring the device maker to either poll less often (meaning that data cannot be sent or received in real time or with less accuracy), put the device into a sleep mode, or reduce the number of parallel processes running on the device.

For devices that are voice enabled, this means having to stick with either local commands or requiring dedicated power. This means an Echo Dot needs to be within range of an outlet (or require some professional installation).

However, with Qi and other wireless power protocols, over the next decade (before September 2026), we’re probably going to see the range from which power can be transferred be increased significantly. If we can get to a meter, then it would make sense to start to put wireless power bases in walls or underneath counters or in lightbulb receptacles. Then, our sensors can shrink significantly and start streaming data.

Maybe an Echo like device can come in the form of an Amazon Dash button at that point?

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store