Glass desks can help make a small office feel more spacious (and maybe a little sci-fi), but they also reveal things that most desks keep hidden, like a rat’s nest of power cords. and sync cables. That may soon change with a new product called Power-Tap Glass which conducts both electricity and data signals without any visible wires.
Created by Cohda Design (a UK based product development company and glassmaker NSG Pilkington), Power-Tap (or P-Tap, for short) Glass is actually made up of multiple layers of conductive and non-conductive glass sheets laminated into a single pane that still remains completely transparent, but with the added benefit that the electricity can flow freely through this. So a sophisticated transparent desk could power computers, lamps, and even charge a smartphone with a single cable coming out of the desk stand plugged into an outlet that can be easily camouflaged.
It’s a neat trick, but unlike desks with built-in wireless chargers where you can just drop a smartphone down to charge it, the P-Tap Glass requires the installation of special power outlets to provide power or data signals to connected devices. (It’s not as simple as drilling a hole and jamming wires in a vacuum, but the layout of the plugs can be completely customized as needed.) Each piece of glass acts like a kind of big power cord. flat, and the sockets tap into the various conductive layers to transmit electricity to connected devices. So it’s not a true wireless power supply where any device resting on the glass surface is juicing, but connected devices that appear to float and operate without visible wires are still a neat effect.
A desk covered in electronics is just one application of P-Tap Glass. A kitchen could see all of the granite replaced with see-through countertops with floating electric stove elements and even a flat-screen TV panel built into a glass backsplash. Aesthetically, the upgrade would likely feel incredibly dated a decade later. But for a few precious years, you would have a kitchen that looks straight out of Tony Stark’s compound. (Before, you know, all the explosions and everything.)
So where can you order P-Tap glass for your next home improvement? The product is not yet available in mass, the great Cohda Design has licensed the technology to companies like Zytronic including ElectroglaZ should see availability as early as next year, if not sooner.