We’ve all been there. Your mobile phone or laptop runs out of battery at the most inconvenient moment. Finnish startup PowerKiss wants to solve this problem by building wireless chargers into furniture. The company just launched a new set of products: a small receiver that plugs into handheld devices (the Ring) and an electrical transmitter built into a piece of furniture like a table (the Heart). You place your device on the table and it charges wirelessly.

The new receiver works with mobile phones from Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, LG, HTC, RIM and any other device that supports microUSB. Apple support should follow shortly. After piloting the product at Helsinki airport and some cafes in the city, PowerKiss now plans to start selling internationally. Some Finnish manufacturers are already selling tables with embedded PowerKiss transmitters. PowerKiss is targeting public places like airports, hotels, restaurants and conferences.

The PowerKiss charging technology was developed in-house and is based on resonating field induction that creates an electromagnetic field around the Heart transmitter. The Ring receiver adapts the current produced by the field to the requirements of the mobile device. Induction of this kind has a very short range, so the transmitter and receiver must be very close together. Other methods for transmitting power wirelessly, like converting radio waves to DC power, have a longer range but are more suitable for low-power devices like wireless sensors.

A Californian company called PowerBeam uses optical transmitters and receivers that convert electricity into optical power to transmit. The receiver turns the optical power back into electricity. Power can therefore be “beamed” to any device within the line of sight.

PowerKiss was founded in 2008, is located in Espoo Finland, and has 15 employees. It has been funded to date by angel investors and a government-backed VC fund.