Chiba, Japan -- Inductive charging is a technology that allows devices to transfer electricity via magnetic fields instead of wires. Over the last few years, it has slowly yet steadily grown in popularity. You see it in electric ranges installed in fancy countertops. Electric toothbrushes mostly rely on inductive principles. Universal chargers like the Qi that are based on the technology have also started to hit the market.

Here’s a novel example from TDK shown at Ceatec, the large technology trade show outside of Tokyo. An inductive charger is located in the base of the table. When the light bulb passes near or over it, it lights up. In the Middle Ages, you’d be burned at the stake for trying something like this.

Is there anything truly green about this? Not yet. Inductive charging typically is less efficient than wires. Still, the efficiencies are improving and one can imagine the design concepts that could come out of increased exploitation of inductive charging. You could move the installed lights in the living room without ripping up the drywall, conceivably. Hotel lobby displays could take advantage of this, as well.

Combine this with the technology for wireless light switches from NXP Semiconductor, EnOcean and others, and you start to see electricity as something that can be embedded in all sorts of things.