Gizmos & Gadgets: New Power Adapter No Bigger Than a Power Plug

December 30, 2013 – FINsix is a replacement power adapter for charging laptop computers. It is described as four times smaller and six times lighter than anything on the market today. It comes with a bonus, an auxiliary USB port for powering up mobile devices through the adapter without having to use an additional plug outlet.

Power adapters are ingenious devices. They take energy from a wall outlet and regulate it so that steady power gets delivered to the device to which it is attached. My older laptop has a power adapter as bulky as a brick and it comes with two wires, one I plug into the laptop and the other to the wall outlet. Whenever I used to travel it added another pound at least to my computer bag. When lugging a laptop through airports a pound less would have been a welcome relief.

How has FINsix been able to reduce the form factor and weight so dramatically? They have done this by increasing the power density tenfold using VHF switching frequencies in very small chunks. This means smaller capacitors and inductors and a dramatically decreased size. In addition FINsix power load balancing is designed to be a thousand times faster than other adapters, an attractive feature for use in many other applications besides powering laptops. Smaller form factor, fewer sub-components, the elimination of magnetic core transformers, all means fewer points of failure.

When will FINsix be available? The company, which appears to have been incubated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, will be showing their new adapter at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this January. They have already received a 2014 CES Innovations and Design Engineering Award for the invention and should have it commercially available sometime mid-2014.

 

FINsix

 

 

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Len Rosen lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a researcher and writer who has a fascination with science and technology. He is married with a daughter who works in radio, and a miniature red poodle who is his daily companion on walks of discovery. More...

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  • Reducing size for portable devices is a welcome thing. One disappointing point however – the entire article is about size, but there is no measurement at all (width, length, height). “Very small” does not mean much. The picture does not even provide an idea of scale, like a pencil or human hand.

    • lenrosen4

      You are absolutely right that I didn’t include dimensions or weight. That’s because there was no dimensional information in the press releases I read. The article contains a link where you can get more information. I would suggest if you are interested in ordering one you can have all your questions answered there.