Wearable Tech World Feature Article
October 07, 2014

uBeam Presents the Future of Wireless Charging

Wearable technology includes an array of products that allow consumers to wear and use advanced electronic devices. The market is booming as users enjoy the convenience of being always connected through devices that can be easily incorporated in their lifestyle. While there is not yet a clear winner in terms of product or even product category, what is clear is that the future of wearables in terms of implementation and operations will be completely different than today.

The next wave of wearable computing devices will consist of items better exploiting solar power or using motion-powered batteries and, most innovatively, involving an ultrasonic receiver, small enough to fit into wearables that generates electricity, explains Peter Li, founder of Atlas Wearables. Recently, he discussed what it is like to be an entrepreneur in the fast-growing wearables industry.

Li says the energy features of many wearable devices are rapidly changing; trends show that technologists are concentrating on developing new solutions to the battery problem. He believes uBeam transmitters provide the next step in mobile, as they are able to deliver enough energy for general-purpose computing and Internet use in a convenient way. Li mentions that a wireless charging startup called uBeam, which claims to be able to send power and data to portable devices using ultrasound, promises to change today’s powered wearables that allow users to connect to a digital world.

The uBeam device, which provides a Wi-Fi-like charging experience, uses power-to-ultrasound technology to transmit electricity (via a 5mm thick transmitter plate) to devices through the air. It makes long-range wireless charging a reality, explains Meredith Perry, who discovered the uBeam concept. No longer is wireless power system limited to close proximity contact, said Perry in an interview with the New York Times. Soon, the company will launch a fully functional prototype.

uBeam chargers have the ability to charge portable electronics wirelessly; they can take electricity, convert it into sound and send that audio through the air over ultrasound. A receiver attached to a portable electronic device catches the sound and converts it back into electricity; only a thin receiver is needed on the wearable’s end for the whole process to work.

With the batteries market being so important today, as the ability to last longer and charge easily has such an important impact on the functioning of wearables, it is clear how such innovative technology can really change the way consumers can use their devices.   

uBeam brings significant changes to how devices charge by allowing them to constantly receive power at a distance, without being limited by the presence of plugs and traditional power sources. The wireless platform makes it possible for a device to receive power while in use and while still worn by the owner.

According to the New York Times post, uBeam’s technology could be used potentially for everything from wearables to the Internet of Things, where everyday objects are capable of communicating over the Internet.

Consumers can expect portable (and by inclusion wearable) devices be equipped with uBeam’s technology in the near future. uBeam has filed 18 patents and possesses $1.7 million in seed funding; the company hopes to have a consumer version available on the market in two years.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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