uBeam – long range wireless charging may be closer than we previously thought


The Wireless Power Consortium's Qi may have managed to expand its wireless charging range to 1.77 inches, however, it would seem that there is already another technology in the works that will easily dwarf WPC's attempts for over-the-air charging.

A young Ms. Meredith Perry came up with a very interesting tech that converts electricity into ultrasound and back. It is called uBeam and employs the use of a 5 mm thin emitter, which can be easily incorporated into wallpapers, works of art, or any other decor. It connects to a power outlet, converts the electricity into physical vibrations with a frequency somewhere above 20 kHz, and sends them off into the air. The receiver is a slab of the same width that can be attached to an electronic device of your choice and its job is to catch said vibrations and convert them back into usable electrical charge. It does that with the magic of piezoelectricity – a charge created in certain solid materials when they are under mechanical stress (e.g. – vibrating).

There is no mention of its range, however it is said that a single device would be able to easily cover a whole room. Ms. Perry's company will initially start production on two models – a smaller one for homes, offices, and cafeterias, and a larger plate for stadiums, airports, and halls, so we assume that it's safe to say that range is not expected to be an issue. The signal does not travel through walls, though, which is expected, as ultrasound has almost no penetrating qualities whatsoever.

The products are said to be ready for distribution some time in the next 2 years and Ms. Perry is optimistic about the adoption of the charging tech, saying that coffee shops will soon have a uBeam sticker, akin to the "Free Wi-Fi" stickers we are used to seeing. Furthermore, it may even go beyond charging, as the company says it is working on a way to also transmit secure data via the charging stations.

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