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WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

More companies are showing interest in wireless charging and the pace of development and investment in the sector is accelerating, but this is one wireless charging technology that the experts say shouldn’t work, but it does.

 

Unlike Energous, a company that a few weeks ago was given the first “wireless charging at a distance” license from the FCC, and who recently showed off their new Radio Frequency (RF) wireless power charging technology,  embedded into a set of smart underwear called Skiin, from Myant, uBeam is a bit of a mystery in Silicon Valley. The wireless charging company claims to have developed a way to charge electronic devices wirelessly using sound waves, ultrasound waves, like the same ones we’re using to create tractor beams and next generation 3D printers, to be more precise, for truly cordless charging regardless of what surface your smartphone is touching, or where it is, but so far the company has been criticised for avoiding detailed discussions and demonstrations of its technology.

 

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This week though that all changed when at the UpFront Summit in California the company showed its tech off in front of an audience. The demonstration was supposed to be “off the record,” which is a strange thing to tell a crowd of people with video cameras in their pockets, and as you might suspect, various videos of the demo, like the one below, are now doing the rounds.

 


uBeam’s CEO Demonstrating Using Sound To Charge Gadgets
 

In the video, you can clearly see uBeam CEO Meredith Perry holding what appears to be an Android phone near some type of device and waiting momentarily before a charging symbol appears on the display. Of course, the goal is to shrink down that large box into a device consumers could purchase and keep in their homes.

 

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uBeam’s ultimate goal is to create a device resembling a small satellite dish shaped charger, but, unlike Energous who appear to be on a tear at the moment, that may still be a while off. There are still a ton of other technical questions, too, such as how the company can overcome the limits of physics to create a product that works consistently time and time again as designed. Still, it’s a promising first suggestion that uBeam’s foundational concept is actually sound, so as the wireless charging space starts to heat up uBeam, and their possible-impossible ultrasound wireless charging technology might be one to watch.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, award winning Futurist and Founder of the 311 Institute, a global futures think tank, is described as "The Adviser behind the Advisers." Regularly featured on AP, CNBC, Discovery and RT, his ability to identify and track hundreds of game changing emerging technologies, and explain their impact on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past five years running as one of the world's foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive future. A rare talent Matthew sits on the Technology and Innovation Committee (TIAC) for Centrica, one of Europe’s largest energy companies, and his recent work includes mentoring XPRIZE teams, building the first generation of biocomputers, helping the world’s largest manufacturers companies envision the next five generations of smartphones and devices, and what comes next, and helping companies including Qualcomm envision the next twenty years of semiconductors. Matthew's clients are the who’s who of industry and include Accenture, Bain & Co, BOA, Blackrock, Bloomberg, Booz Allen Hamilton, BCG, Bentley, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, Du Pont, E&Y, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, HPE, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lloyds Banking Group, McKinsey, Monsanto, PWC, Qualcomm, Rolls Royce, SAP, Samsung, Schroeder's, Sequoia Capital, Sopra Steria, UBS, the UK's HM Treasury, the USAF and many others.

Comments
  • John White#1

    5th February 2018

    Sure it’s charging, but very very slowly and only if you dangle the phone just right in front of the transmitter. Forget putting your phone on a table or holding it in your hand normally. The entire back of the phone has to be exposed and aimed at the transmitter.

    Plus: The transmitter is using kW of power to do that. Your electricity bill will never be the same again…

    Reply
  • John Simpson#2

    17th May 2018

    U Beam is a scam. It will never work as promised.

    It’s a case of yet another “woman in tech” milking the rubes.

    Reply
    • Matthew Griffin#3

      17th May 2018

      Hi John, thanks for your comment and we’ll see… a number of others have thought the same but they do seem to be making some headway so it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out, especially as the amount of competition in the wireless charging space increases over the next few years

      Reply

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