There were doubts when uBeam unveiled its ultrasound wireless charging technology back in 2011, due in part to the company’s refusal to reveal details of its development, but now it is revealing how safe it is to use their wireless phone charging technology.
uBeam’s founder, Meredith Perry has just revealed safety information, research and other details about uBeam – how it works and how it is able to charge and send data simultaneously to several phones and other electronic communication devices inside a room.
The fear of other people copying their technology seemed to have fled, since the access to its research and secrets fully convinced investors to pool $23.4 million to fund the company. Some of them include Katie Jacobs Stanton, Ellen Levy, Mark Cuban and Marissa Mayer. CrunchFund, Ludlow Ventures, AFSquare, Upfront Ventures, Founders Found and Andreessen Horowitz also provided funds for uBeam.
How uBeam’s wireless charging works
The first to be released would be the phone charging case. However, the company also has plans to use the technology to power up flat screen TVs, computers, light bulbs, sensors, tablets as well as hearing aids.
The secret of its wireless charging capability is ultrasound transduction. It works by having a transmitter that converts data and energy into ultrasound waves. The system then detects the receivers of uBeam’s ultrasound waves within the room. The receivers would convert the sound back into data and electrical energy via an ultrasound transducer before sending them to the devices connected to the system so they could be charged.
The current limitation uBeam faces it that it needs a clear line-of-sight for its system to work. It there is something that blocks the connection, like a person, window or wall, the transmission is quickly stopped. uBeam’s transmitter connects to the receiver to deliver a directional beam.
There were questions about how safe it would be to use uBeam since it has enough power to charge devices. Perry explained that the sound could not be heard by humans and
animals and would not harm living tissues or cause health-related problems due to frequent and prolonged exposure. It is designed not to penetrate skin. Perry said that uBeam operates above the 20 Hz to 20 kHz range, thus it cannot be heard by humans. According to a bat expert, uBeam’s frequency would not be able to harm even sensitive animals like bats. uBeam had revealed that it uses the same ultrasound employed in the medical field for fetus imaging, which is why they are positive that it is not harmful to humans as well as other mammals.
On legal issues, Perry said that uBeam’s waves would not interfere with existing electronics or communication systems and could be used in hospitals, offices, cars and aircraft and meets all the regulatory requirements issued by the government, UL and FCC for electronic devices. Investors were satisfied with the results produced by regulatory requirement and third-party safety audits.
Image credit: Nick Bilton/The New York Times