Apple received a Granted Patent yesterday relating to a method and system that would more efficiently deliver power throughout a home via an intelligent power-enabled communications port. In 2009 Apple's Anthony Fadell envisioned that Apple's intelligent power-enabled communications port could be a standard built into future homes. That's very interesting considering that Fadell left Apple to go on to create Nest, a company that has developed a next generation thermostat for the home.
One of the aspects of Apple's invention covers power-enabled data ports that could "be built into premises wiring of buildings to provide power in addition to, or in place of, conventional alternating-current mains power receptacles," states Fadell. The inclusion of such built-in ports in premises wiring would allow the powering of direct-current devices without the use of bulky AC-DC adapters as are now required, each of which may be unique to the device being powered. However, because different devices would still have different power requirements, such a built-in power-enabled port may still use the present invention to negotiate with any device plugged into it to determine how much power to deliver. Such a built-in power-enabled port may be used only for power delivery, or may be used for data purposes as well, such as local-area networking within the premises and/or delivery of an Internet connection.
Power-enabled ports built into premises according to this invention may be powered from one or more centrally-located power supplies. For example, there may be one power supply located in a utility area (e.g., the basement) of a building, or there may be, e.g., one power supply per floor of the building. The centrally-located power supply may be connected to the building mains power, and may include not only a variable power supply as described herein, but also a controller, as described, for negotiating with power-consuming devices.
Apple's patent FIG. 5 noted above is a schematic view of an illustrative building having embedded power-enabled data ports for coupling peripheral devices; FIG. 6 is a diagram of a junction box incorporating a port according to the present invention along with a mains power receptacle; and FIG. 7 is a single wiring device incorporating both a port according to the present invention along with a mains power receptacle.
To review more of Apple's in-depth details of this invention and the 25 accompanying patent claims, see granted patent 8,344,874.
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