Authenticating wall socket could charge for power

Power leeches are pretty common these days. Airports and coffee shops seem to be their natural habitats, but they can be found anywhere there's an open wall socket. Even when chairs are available, this breed seems to prefer sitting on the floor, usually with at least one power cable strung across a high-traffic area just waiting to trip a passerby.

I've often wondered what businesses think of these freeloaders, of which I am admittedly one. Like free Wi-Fi, unused power outlets are sure to attract customers toting laptops and other gadgets, which no doubt leads to inflated power bills at the end of the month. That might be about to change. While reading The Verge this morning, I noticed that Sony has developed an authenticating power outlet that could allow establishments to charge leechers for, er, charging.

Since power is relatively cheap, users shouldn't have to shell out too much to top up their electronics devices. There's the potential for gouging, of course, but widespread adoption could make that less of an issue. The outlets will only catch on if they're cheap and easy to implment, which remains to be seen.

The current trajectory toward ever-smaller computing devices with shorter battery life underscores the need for convenient charging options. This looks like a good solution, especially if it can entice businesses and facilities like airports to line their walls with additional outlets.

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