What if you had the control of powering all of your electron devices by simply walking into a building? While this idea sounds like it was concocted by the creators of Back to the Future, the company uBeam has made great strides in the power industry by inventing a way to wirelessly send energy up to 15 feet away with ultrasound.
The idea began when the CEO and Founder, Meredith Perry, was tethered to a wall trying to charge her laptop during her undergraduate years at the University of Pennsylvania. After her ‘aha’ moment, Meredith began building various prototypes. After months of hard work and countless failures, Meredith and her team were able to showcase uBeam’s first prototype invention to the All Things Digital conference back in 2011. Though the prototype was the size of two toaster sized boxes with the range to charge only one to two feet away, it was still a milestone for Meredith. This idea was no longer a lofty idea, but a tangible solution for the world.
(Learn more about Meredith and uBeam here.)
Since then, uBeam has continued to work on the overall design and functionality of the product so that it can be more convenient for its customers. For this to happen, uBeam continuously runs on the belief of finding innovative and groundbreaking solution that would change the world for the better. For them, their goal is simple. They want a world without wires. The idea to simply lift up your phone and charge it without plugging is something they plan to make a reality each and every day.
So how does uBeam work? How did it come about?
Beyond the ‘aha’ moment, Meredith states how difficult it was to conceptually strategize an idea that, at the time, did not seem physically possible. She states, “to create something really new is extremely difficult because there is not protocol. I can’t Google it online and find the steps needed to be taken. Sometimes you have to create your own materials, your own design, and your own manufacturing process. You have to create your own shipping materials that can cover the parts that you built.” She continues that the idea sparked simply from the laptop dilemma everyone in the United States or Starbucks knows all too well. Eventually she used her knowledge of ultrasound and understanding of Wi-Fi as a way to create what uBeam is today.
The way uBeam system operates is that it is composed of two parts, a transmitter that emits energy and a receiver that receives energy. The transmitter is similar to that of a speaker, but rather than emitting audible sounds, uBeam transmitters emits high frequency sound called ultrasound. The receiver picks up the sound and then converts it to usable energy.
While uBeam’s product is still in its beta-phase, various investors and venture capitalist have already invested in the company’s future. Those include Andreesseen Horowitz, Founders Fund, Upfront Ventures, Troy Carter’s AFSquare, Mark Cuban, Ellen Levy, Katie Jacobs Stanton, and much more. In addition, the tech company is has already made strategic financial moves with future deals with coffee conglomerate Starbucks, Virgin air travel, Starwood’s hotels, and various huge fast food chains.
Time can only tell where uBeam will be in the future. All we know is that when it comes, we can begin unplugging.