Twenty-five-year-old Meredith Perry has found a way for people to easily charge up mobile devices without actually needing an outlet. She designed a technology that converts electricity into sound, and sends the audio through airwaves via ultrasound. Then, a portable electronic device with a receiver collects the sound and converts it back into electricity. This development means people can move around or have devices stored in pockets and purses while they charge.
Perry's company uBeam has developed a prototype that they hope to begin building for customers.
“This is the only wireless power system that allows you to be on your phone and moving around a room freely while you’re device is charging,” Perry said. “It allows for a Wi-Fi-like experience of charging; with everything else you have to be in close range of a transmitter.”
The charging stations will be very thin, at just 5 mm thick. They will be attached to walls, like wallpaper, and turned into decorative art pieces. Thin receivers would be attached to smartphones and laptops to receive the charge.
Furthermore, gadgets that work with uBeam could have thinner batteries that are equipped to constantly receive power.
“If wireless power is everywhere, then the size of your battery can shrink because it’s always charging.” Perry said. “You’ll never need a cord again, and you won’t need international charging adapters.”
The company has plans to produce two charging stations -- one for smaller rooms in homes and offices, and a much larger one for public spaces, like stadiums, airports and hotels.
The one limitation to uBeam's technology is, unlike Wi-Fi, the transmitters cannot beam through walls. This means that users would have to buy several transmitters for each room, or charge all their devices within a single room.
“We’re going to sell directly to consumers, and we’ll sell them to restaurant chains and hotels — we are going to saturate the market with uBeam transmitters,” Perry said. “In addition to your local coffee shop saying it has free Wi-Fi, it will also say it has free uBeam.”
uBeam expects to have their products available to consumers within the next two years.