Does it really work? That is the question that everyone wants to have the answer for.
uBeam is a start up created by Meredith Perry. It is considered as the most promising company in the Silicon Valley. 23 billion dollars have already been raised, investors include companies like Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund and individuals such as Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo.
But why does everybody talk about this company?
Meredith Perry claimed that she was working on a prototype that would enable people to use ultrasounds and transforms them into electricity for wireless charging. The devices could be charged meters away from the power source. Technically, it is really convenient and people seem ready to try it.
Unfortunately, the future of the company could be compromised because of the revelation by Paul Reynolds, a former engineer at uBeam who said that the product doesn’t work. For the moment, the energy transfer rates are not the ones which have been promised.
People seem more and more skeptical about the company and what is promised, there is no proof of the technology and the company didn’t comment on the accusations.
Does the company will be able to show its product soon? Are they just making a buzz to sell more products after? Time will tell… Stay tuned in the meantime.
A lot of people have expressed frustration in the fact that iPhones still do not have Qi Wireless Charging built-in. It is already possible to charge iPhones, iPods wirelessly with iQi Mobile and iQi PWRcase receivers, but it seems like Apple is gearing to integrate the technology directly into their handsets, as some other manufacturers already have.
In the last few months Apple hired at least 12 engineers specialized in wireless charging, and some came from… uBeam!
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To examine this question properly we have to go back in time, and bust some battery myths while we’re at it.
The first legend was born before lithium-ion batteries came to exist. Back then, the battery should have been discharged completely before it could be charged again, in order to sustain battery life. Lithium-ion batteries, however, work in charge cycles, so this issue has disappeared. The capacity does diminish slightly with each complete charge cycle, but that is due to natural wear.
So you don’t need to worry about discharging devices completely.
The next myth also originates from properties of older batteries. It’s rumoured that charging overnight kills the battery life in the long-term. It used to be possible to ruin a battery by ‘overcharging’, or leaving the device plugged in all the time. When you plugged in your phone for longer periods, older lithium-ion batteries could overheat. This heat can be blamed for the damage. Now we live in the age of ‘smart’, so the symbiosis of battery and software configuration has eliminated this problem as batteries will no longer receive more power than they require. We are also utilising technology called trickle charging which provides only the required amount of power to the phone at all times.
So don’t worry about your battery!
Anyways, batteries will deplete over time no matter what you do, so don’t obsess over it too much. If you keep your phone on a wireless charger in the office, or leave it on overnight, that would not ruin your battery life any more than if you would plug it in.
Wireless (or inductive) charging uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy between two objects.This concept was first demonstrated by Nikola Tesla, and it has a long history of commercial use, charging of electrical toothbrushes, for example.
Let’s take a look at the advantages of this technology. The first is convenience: you just place your device down on the charging pad and it's charging! It’s as easy as 1-2-3. Secondly, it can solve other problems in environments that are not suitable for electrical power cords because it’s wet, moving, dirty or needs to remain sterile or hermetically sealed. Of course, there is another side of the coin as well. Wireless charging is a bit slower than charging with a cord, and this technology is usually a bit more expensive. There is some confusion between standards, which basically means that you can’t charge your device with any type of changer. Majority of people identify Qi with wireless charging, which is adopted by some of the biggest tech companies like Samsung and LG. However, the other commonly known type of Wireless Charging is Powermat, which can be found in Starbucks coffee shop chain. Unfortunately, Qi and Powermat are not compatible with one another. Some manufacturers started to built both standards into their phones, for example the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge can be charged using both. So it looks like Qi is winning the battle! The most popular devices to be charged wirelessly are smartphones. A lot of newer phones have Qi standard Wireless Charging receivers built right into the phone by the manufacturer. The older models can be made compatible with an add-on receiver. (see the list here: http://www.fonesalesman.com/pages/qi-enabled-mobiles)
The point is still convenience. Just imagine having wireless charging in your car, on your nightstand (it can be built into your furniture as well, have you seen FurniQi?) at your office desk, and in the living room. It’s just easier to live wirelessly. And let’s be honest here: is there anything cooler than dropping your phone on a stone, and the phone starts charging?
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