Brew Your Coffee with Inductive Charging

Christian Sager


The Kickstarter video for the La Fenice coffee machine is like an SNL skit gone awry, with hosts Stefan and Fabio comically introducing their device, while a narrator waxes on about "perfection," sounding like a cross between Ray Winstone and Sir David Attenborough. Once you get past their amusing earnestness (and their subtle derision for "American filter coffee") the invention of a coffee machine that charges inductively is pretty enticing.

If I had $700 to drop, I'd get one for the HowStuffWorks office, complete with its "copper, brass, chestnut wood and handmade Murano glass" exterior. If you think we're over-caffeinated now, wait until we get one of those in the kitchen. You'll have more podcasts, videos and articles than you know what to do with.

Speaking of, I was pretty jacked up on coffee when we recently covered how inductive charging works on our sibling show BrainStuff. Here's the video, hosted by Jonathan Strickland:

While that episode focused on toothbrushes, cell phones and cars, there's no reason the same principle can't be applied to making great, energy-saving coffee. If their hype is true, La Fenice sounds like some serious coffee, but I'm more interested in the benefits of its inductive charging. If you're not already familiar, inductive charging is a form of wireless electricity transfer using pre-existing magnetic fields. These usually require two parts, a primary transmitter that produces a magnetic field and a secondary receiving coil that induces electricity and charges the device. The process generates non-ionizing radiation by the way, which we currently believe to be harmless.

Stefan and Fabio get quite worked up in their video about how advanced their printed circuit board is for the La Fenice, saying that it "perfectly controls the power of our electromagnetic induction heater" as well as the temperature, pressure and flow rate. They're also pretty excited about how it measures the temperature of the water itself to make "perfect" coffee and espresso. All this combined with the machine's inductive capabilities certainly make it appealing to devotees of java.

Now if only we could get manufacturers on board with a standardized form of inductive charging, we could get more devices like this for our everyday life.