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CES News: But Wait, There’s More!

Last week, I examined a few of the most exciting products I came across while tracking the Consumer Electronic Show (CES).

With over 3,000 booths at the event, though, there are certainly more than a few promising new technologies that are coming down the pike.

So here are two more I’d like to cover today….

Fulton Makes Every Surface a Potential Charger

I’ve already mentioned two new battery-charging solutions that came out of CES last week.

But Fulton Innovation isn’t just offering a new charger to plug in your personal electronics… It’s changing the way we charge our devices altogether by removing wires from the equation entirely.

Fulton Innovation develops inductive coupling, or “eCoupled” technology.

Simply put, a power source sends a current to the wireless charger, which creates a magnetic field. A conductor in an electronic device then picks up the current and sends it to the device’s battery.

At last year’s CES, Fulton demonstrated how this technology could be used to wirelessly charge a Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) Roadster by placing a charging mat on a parking spot or in a garage.

This year, the company takes this unique charging technology to our homes and offices, too.

You might be familiar with Duracell’s Powermat. It’s a flat charging station that allows you to juice up your smartphone just by placing it on the surface. Of course, this process – although easier than plugging in a smartphone every night – still requires an outlet and wires. Not to mention that it also requires a special case for the phone.

Fulton takes this inductive charging technology a giant step forward.

For one, the company demonstrated that its technology can be integrated with existing surfaces like desks, countertops, even the console in your car, eliminating the need for a standalone charger. And all wires would be hidden underneath.

That way, you could keep your phone’s battery topped off without even thinking about it, since it’s charging in areas where you usually set your phone down anyway.

The company demonstrated that the magnetic field can penetrate surfaces as thick as granite, and can even reach your smartphone through a bag. So just setting your bag on a countertop is enough.

Better yet, Fulton showed that the system can work without requiring a special case. Check it out.

With the amount of rechargeable electronics that we use on a daily basis, it’s easy to imagine this technology eventually finding its way under tabletops everywhere.

And since it owns over 600 patents in inductive coupling technology, it has positioned itself perfectly to reap the benefits once the trend takes off. Especially considering companies like Motorola (NYSE: MMI) and Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) are already signed on.

3-D Printers Just Got Affordable

We’ve been excited about the prospects of 3-D printers – and their ability to create anything from desserts to organs – for a while now.

And Brooklyn-based, MakerBot, is making sure that everyone can gain access to the technology.

The machine, which is roughly the size of a microwave, uses two extruders that hold what’s essentially the 3-D printing equivalent to an ink cartridge. Only the “ink” used by the Replicator is a biodegradable material similar to the plastic in Legos.

To pump out a 3-D object, you simply upload the schematics into the machine, hook up the proper colors into the extruders, and the Replicator begins printing the object, layer by layer. The video below from CNET shows how it works…

You don’t have to design objects yourself, either. The company’s website, Thingiverse.com, gives you a ton of design schematics free of charge.

Like Fulton, MakerBot also appeared at CES last year. But this year’s model comes fully assembled. So consumers can purchase the Replicator and begin using it right out of the box.

And perhaps the best part is that it’s not insanely expensive. As Bre Pettis, CEO and Co-Founder of MakerBot, says, it used to be that “getting a 3-D printer meant spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.” Now consumers can pick up a Replicator for about $1,300.

No wonder the technology was dubbed “Best Emerging Tech Product” at CES this year.

The affordable price tag should get more consumers on board, which means we’ll be seeing more innovative 3-D printing applications in the coming months. Can’t wait!

Good investing,

Justin Fritz

Justin Fritz

, Executive Editor

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