More light, more power

A few notes about power for the Super Table —

The integrated power distribution aims to make it easy to get plugged in around the Super Table, for phone chargers, laptops and other low-power devices. The power cables shouldn’t be a big additional hassle to set up.

The Fall 2010 model of the Super Table had very simple integrated power, described here. We used domestic extension cables, with the ends hanging out of the tables. It worked ok – a bit clunky, but easy to install. Problems with this approach:

  • Having the cables hanging out of the ends wasn’t great for transporting the table
  • You can only plug in at the ends of the panels
  • Connecting the panels with power cables makes it hard to move the individual panels around, so a different system is needed if we’re going to make the panels more modular and individual.

How could power distribution be different? Some ideas:

  • Ideally, the outlets would be embedded directly in the side of the table, but finding slimline embedded AC outlets has been tricky. Embedded units are designed to go into walls and have a much greater depth than the table surface.
  • What if we provide USB power, every couple of feet? This could be integrated into the surface of the table, allowing people to charge their mobile devices.
  • Instead of running power through the table surface, what if the structure contained the power distribution system? Rather than at-seat power, the table would have a single power tree. This could mix AC and USB power.
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