My kitchen is cramped, and chances are yours is too. That’s why the Wireless Power Consortium is pushing its new Ki cordless kitchen standard at IFA – so one day we can power all our kitchen appliances directly from the countertop.
No more cords! No more playing musical chairs between your toaster, air fryer, blender, or rice cooker! Sounds too good to be true, but we stopped by the WPC’s booth at Messe Berlin for a demo and have to admit the possibilities were tantalising.
How does it work? The concept is the same as the Qi wireless charging standard you use to power up your phones. There’s a magnetic coil that goes under your countertop, and eventually, appliances and cookware could have a corresponding coil as well. Hans Kablau, chair of the WPC’s Kitchen Work Group, told Gizmodo that Ki chargers should be able to work through any non-metal countertops, including marble, granite, wood, and laminates.
That said, Ki is not the same as Qi. For starters, Qi uses much smaller coils and has a limit of about 15 watts. Ki coils are much, much larger and can go up to 2.2 kilowatts (2,200 watts). So no, you wouldn’t be able to charge your smartphone by putting it on a Ki charger, but Kablau said it was possible future kitchens could incorporate Qi charging as well.
The idea is to maximise tight spaces so the same area can be used to not only prepare food, but also cook it. So, one day, we all might have smart skillets that can heat your food without even needing a dedicated stovetop and a wealth of appliances that have no need for a bulky cord.
So how long do we have to wait for this to be a reality? Well, that depends on the individual member companies of the WPC. Getting lots of different companies to work together toward one goal isn’t the easiest or speediest thing.