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Author Topic: The uBeam FAQ  (Read 206769 times)

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Offline mathieumatteomatthew

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #475 on: May 19, 2016, 08:46:10 PM »
By way of a short break in the thread, imagine someone went to a VC with a power transfer technology that has the following characteristics:

It has a negligible cost with respect to the price of the gadgets it charges.
It is a simple, passive component that does not require specific infrastructure other than power sockets.
It is very light and portable, you can always have one in your handbag or in your pocket.
It allows you to hold your device in any position while it's charging.
It doesn't mind obstacles between the power source and the device.

Despite and in addition to all these practical advantages:

It has negligible losses...
Its efficiency is nearly independent of the distance between power source and device.
Its efficiency is virtually independent of the position in which you hold your device.

Of course you know what I'm referring to: the power cable, unsung hero in this whole discussion, that sets the bar so high. I like to frame the debate in terms of elegant/ugly solutions to fundamental/trivial needs. While it is very old technology, a power cable is still an utterly elegant solution to a fundamental need - transferring power over a distance, as opposed to Ubeam, Energous and co that propose ugly solutions to a trivial issue - the slight inconvenience of having to spend a few seconds plugging a cable into a device, from time to time. Their solutions are ugly because they are complex and yet inefficient.

You might oppose that wireless data transfer supplanted wired data transfer in many cases, so why not for power transfer as well ? But in data transfer the needs are a big deal - you want to be connected all the time as you move around the house or around the street, while the drawbacks are negligible because efficiency is not an issue there - you're not emitting much power and need only a tiny fraction of it to recover your bits on the receiver side, so you don't need all these complex beam steering tricks. I might add that although I use a wifi connection to connect to the internet, I personally still prefer a good old USB connection from my device to my computer than bluetooth or wireless connections - the former is just more fundamentally trouble-free than the latter.
 

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #476 on: May 20, 2016, 02:14:50 PM »
Some quotes from the WSJ article:

Scholars Doubt Ubeam Claims;
Pitch Deck Calls Tech ‘Commercially Viable’
Academics are questioning the technology behind Ubeam’s plans for wireless battery charging, which the company said in a pitch deck is “commercially viable.”

Quote
Investors went “gaga” over the story of a young [Mark] Zuckerberg-like personality of uBeam’s founder, Meredith Perry, but other entrepreneurs would likely have faced more due diligence, said Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow with the Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University.

Quote
“This is the flaw in Silicon Valley. They think that young kids with no experience can do amazing things,” said Mr. Wadhwa.
Andreessen Horowitz and Founders Fund didn't respond to requests for comment.

Quote
Mark Suster, general partner at Upfront Ventures and a director on uBeam’s board, published a blog post last week in response to Mr. Reynolds’ critical posts. Mr. Suster acknowledged that the company was behind schedule on delivering products and yet expressed confidence in uBeam’s team. He didn’t address technical criticisms directly.
“Meredith has made claims that she will deliver a working product and I believe her whole heartedly,” he wrote. He also said Ms. Perry has been prone to “hubris,” but he added that any “claims of falsifying information” are “abjectly false.”
Mr. Suster declined to further comment.

Quote
Based on physics and known techniques, uBeam’s claims are difficult to justify, said Bernhard Boser, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science and a co-director of the Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center and the UC Berkeley Swarm Lab. “In particular, it appears that the power level required to meet their claims would be well above accepted and legal safety limits for humans.”

Quote
UBeam was big on promise but limited on technical details in a pitch deck it sent to investors in 2014, according to the documents seen by The Wall Street Journal. In the pitch to prospective investors, the company said that “uBeam is the only commercially viable true wireless power technology that can charge consumer electronics remotely, economically, safely, and without enormous transmitters and receivers.”

Quote
Several venture investors who often invest in hardware and science-based technology startups were pitched by uBeam in the past few years, but quickly passed because of fundamental questions about the startup’s claims, they said. One of the prospective investors said that uBeam emphasized that it already has a number of prominent backers behind it and urged the investor to make a quick decision.

Quote
In its pitch deck, it listed three executives, Ms. Perry, Sean Taffler, then vice president of products and systems, and Mr. Reynolds, the person who has since left and written the series of negative blog posts about the company recently.
The deck said, “imagine a single device that can remotely power electronic devices, communicate with every electronics device in the uBeam environment, collect real-time data about each device. And also locate devices precisely within the uBeam environment, detect -motion -smoke -carbon monoxide, real-time 3-D imaging of the uBeam environment.”

Quote
A Ph.D. recipient who studied under Mr. Boser said such a technical undertaking had many questions. “The math just doesn’t work out. It’s not that it’s impossible per say but it’s impractical,” said Richard Przybyla, a Ph.D. in electrical and electronics engineering from the University California, Berkeley.
Mr. Przybyla said the size of the transmitters and receivers would be hard to make for a consumer product to charge and receive for mobile devices, among other problems. In its deck, uBeam said that an individual model transmitter to power five to 10 devices within a range 0.5 to one meter, would be a square with sides of 10 to 15 centimeters. The receiver, meanwhile could be “nearly any size, shape or color.”

Quote
Lux Capital had looked at the company in 2014, according to Josh Wolfe, managing partner at the firm that is focused on science. Mr. Wolfe didn’t say why the firm decided
“I follow the ‘Feynman rule’: Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature can’t be fooled,” Mr. Wolfe said. He was referring to a famed report by physicist Richard Feynman on the space shuttle Challenger disaster, where he concluded that NASA management underestimated the probability of failure by a thousand times, in part, to secure more funds.
 

Offline Danseur

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #477 on: May 20, 2016, 03:43:20 PM »
There were several world-class engineers there. He's one of them, both in capability and character.

Paul, it's great that you exposed Energous too
http://liesandstartuppr.blogspot.com/2016/04/those-other-guys-pt-1.html

You linked to this story on Energous.
http://seekingalpha.com/article/3811296-energous-buy-companys-story-stock

"Using the 1 watt as our transmitter power translates to 0.000507 watt (0.507 milliwatts or 507 microwatts) at the receiving end."

But it's far worse than this!  The FCC does not permit any product to transmit at the full 1 watt if the antenna gain is greater than 6 dBi.  If you want to use a phase array to get 21 dB gain from constructive interference, you must drop your transmit power to 25 dBm or 0.316 watts.  Every 3 dBi gain must be accompanied by a 1 dBm TX power decline.

Energous is wasting a ton of energy through destructive interference in most directions they transmit. They get 21 dB of gain through constructive interference on the angles they choose to form their peak beams. It would be far more efficient if they used a 21 dB directional antenna because that reflects the energy from a single transmitter rather than trying to using brute wattage and cancelling most of it. But a more efficient antenna gain design still wouldn't improve their max power delivery. They'd still be limited to 0.316 watt transmit power and there would be a lot of dispersion and they'd only get a tiny fraction of the 0.316 watts.

It's also funny that Energous no longer talks about getting their FCC certification and now they're saying it is up to their licensees to get the certification.  It is absolutely comical that Energous expects their "partners" and licensees to get their own FCC certification.  The media is absolutely incompetent that they do not understand this and call him out.  The company that creates the reference design always handles the FCC certifications because it makes it that much easier to license.  Once the reference design is licensed, the licensees only need to do a simpler faster cheaper certification process.  You only need to get the $1,000 "unintentional transmitter" FCC certification and not the $20,000 "intentional transmitter" FCC certification.

Also, this article says they faked the demos and their 10K admits multiple device charging is not possible now.
http://seekingalpha.com/article/3960298-stunning-admission-energous

“On a side note, the diagram above shows that the distance to each of the receivers was 2.5 ft, but Energous press release falsely claims that the distance was 5 ft:”
« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 04:00:18 PM by Danseur »
 

Offline mathieumatteomatthew

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #478 on: May 20, 2016, 04:52:32 PM »
Interestingly, Mark Suster's latest post is about another startup he's involved in that has many Ubeam/Energous/Theranos-like features:

https://bothsidesofthetable.com/why-solving-big-food-healthcare-problems-will-yield-spectacular-companies-2ba6e410c503#.av98u8ob0

It's a personal gluten sensor, surfing on the wave of the irrational anti-gluten trend we've seen in the past years (only 1% of people actually have gluten intolerance).
As in the case of Ubeam and Theranos, the founders had no experience in the relevant fields:

Shireen had been studying for her masters in business at MIT and thinking about her own food allergies and Scott was a graduate of the mechanical engineering school at MIT with an emphasis in product design.

Of course, there are grand claims. Like Ubeam, they are "on a mission":

We're on a mission to change living with food allergies, forever.

On their flashy website there is not a trace of peer-reviewed literature, just vague claims about beta testing the product. There is not a single health professional in the team, only two chemists that don't seem to have that much experience:

https://nimasensor.com/team/

It's difficult to find the opinion of a qualified person, probably because they aren't that visible so far, but I stumbled upon this:

http://www.healthnewsreview.org/review/optimistic-coverage-of-portable-gluten-test-lacks-some-key-context/

which indirectly puts the claims in context by criticizing another press article on the startup.
What proof does Mark Suster have  that the company is trustworthy ? well... Techcrunch !

It seems that many others were impressed as well. Since our initial funding round the company went on to win the TechCrunch Startup Battleground in a head-to-head competition with some very impressive startups.

When Mark Suster points that the reception by the "industry" has been enthusiastic, he links to an article on... Techcrunch again !
What more is there to say ?
 

Online wilfred

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #479 on: May 20, 2016, 05:01:38 PM »
When Mark Suster points that the reception by the "industry" has been enthusiastic, he links to an article on... Techcrunch again !
What more is there to say ?
Well find out soon enough.
 

Offline DrTune

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #480 on: May 21, 2016, 02:51:14 AM »
Mark Suster's turning out to be an excellent bullshit detector! If he invests in it, it's highly likely to be a con.  :-)
 

Offline Raj

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #481 on: May 23, 2016, 01:40:14 AM »
Seriously, what's wrong people, we should learn to use our own reasoning and take bull$#!t as a pinch of salt (no pun intended  :palm:)

if you really want to implement, try thinking of expenses, a set of ultrasound speaker alone would cost equal to an ir transceiver along with irda encoding chip

ultrasound will be super-slow, will require a lot of encryption, will be no better than ir and have lots of interference problem, while irritating animals, possibly insects too
 

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #482 on: May 28, 2016, 07:36:56 PM »
Perry hasn't tweeted or Facebooked since all this recent stuff went down...
She usually comes out from such things  :box:
 

Offline LabSpokane

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #483 on: May 29, 2016, 03:14:19 AM »
Perry hasn't tweeted or Facebooked since all this recent stuff went down...
She usually comes out from such things  :box:

I'm sure she's busy running the wire bonding machine and plumbing ASICs onto PCBs like there's no tomorrow.
 

Offline bazsa56

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #484 on: May 29, 2016, 03:41:06 AM »
Perry hasn't tweeted or Facebooked since all this recent stuff went down...
She usually comes out from such things  :box:

I'm sure she's busy running the wire bonding machine and plumbing ASICs onto PCBs like there's no tomorrow.

It's probably all over at this point. I don't see them getting another round of funding, at least nothing as big as they got till now.
 

Offline LabSpokane

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #485 on: May 29, 2016, 04:39:35 AM »
Perry hasn't tweeted or Facebooked since all this recent stuff went down...
She usually comes out from such things  :box:

I'm sure she's busy running the wire bonding machine and plumbing ASICs onto PCBs like there's no tomorrow.

It's probably all over at this point. I don't see them getting another round of funding, at least nothing as big as they got till now.

Sorry, sarcasm without emojis does translate well occasionally. That was not a serious comment.
 

Offline Delta

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #486 on: May 29, 2016, 11:21:08 AM »
She's probably to busy laying in a pool full of banknotes with the BatterBros and laughing at idiot investors.
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #487 on: May 29, 2016, 11:47:54 AM »
It's probably all over at this point. I don't see them getting another round of funding, at least nothing as big as they got till now.

That was clear when they got desperate enough to crowd fund their last round, taking $10k+ from almost 100 suckers last year.
That made the VC press by being an almost unprecedented and desperate move.
 

Offline jurge24pez

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #488 on: June 03, 2016, 04:02:05 PM »
Perry hasn't tweeted or Facebooked since all this recent stuff went down...
She usually comes out from such things  :box:

I'm sure she's busy running the wire bonding machine and plumbing ASICs onto PCBs like there's no tomorrow.

It's probably all over at this point. I don't see them getting another round of funding, at least nothing as big as they got till now.

Rumor has it that they are working on a new strategy since the old one didn't work.  Press has died down so she won't respond until it picks back up as she's only one to pick a battle out of arrogance.  They're money is bound to run out since they lost their finance head and engineers continue to leave and nobody can invest until they prove they work.
 

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #489 on: June 03, 2016, 06:57:01 PM »
Rumor has it that they are working on a new strategy since the old one didn't work.

I get the impression she'll never give up, she'll go down kicking and screaming before she changes pivots direction on the product.
 

Offline l0rd_hex

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #490 on: June 04, 2016, 02:16:19 AM »
she'll go down kicking and screaming before she changes pivots direction on the product.

I think she'll protect her name at all costs but the new subject of "wireless data transmission" already seem like a potential pivot.

I'm holding out that she will announce lightening fast ham cooking with UBeHam (eat your heart out Ronco!)



 
"I haven't paid taxes in six years, and I'm not getting busted by a damn sandwich." - Benjamin Franklin
 

Online Fungus

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #491 on: June 04, 2016, 05:08:36 AM »
she'll go down kicking and screaming before she changes pivots direction on the product.

I think she'll protect her name at all costs but the new subject of "wireless data transmission" already seem like a potential pivot.

Yep, because nobody has "wireless data transmission" covered.

It's a huge gap in the market and a great opportunity for early investors.  :popcorn:


 

Offline coppice

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #492 on: June 04, 2016, 03:49:09 PM »
she'll go down kicking and screaming before she changes pivots direction on the product.

I think she'll protect her name at all costs but the new subject of "wireless data transmission" already seem like a potential pivot.

Yep, because nobody has "wireless data transmission" covered.

It's a huge gap in the market and a great opportunity for early investors.  :popcorn:
But this new method offers security, because you know the signal won't get very far. :)
 

Online Fungus

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #493 on: June 05, 2016, 03:25:55 AM »
Yep, because nobody has "wireless data transmission" covered.

It's a huge gap in the market and a great opportunity for early investors.  :popcorn:
But this new method offers security, because you know the signal won't get very far. :)
Of course! I never thought of that. The limited range they're achieving in the laboratory is a feature!

 

Offline Buriedcode

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #494 on: June 05, 2016, 09:47:25 AM »
Don't forget the relatively slow datarate.  But then again, that gives 'gadget lovers' time to talk about all their other startups/'art'/charityeventstheyareattendingbutnotactuallygivinganymoneyto whilst they exchange selfies.  Perhaps the app could provide links to tumblr for 6 minutes it'll take to send a 15 megapixel jpg of a pug?

 :rant:
 

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #495 on: June 05, 2016, 12:51:51 PM »
I think she'll protect her name at all costs

Her name will always be mud as long as that infamous TEDx talk video exists  ;D
 

Offline d-smes

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #496 on: June 06, 2016, 05:01:39 AM »
I enjoyed Paul Reynolds take on uBeam and comparison to Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos.  Interesting Forbes article at http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2016/06/01/from-4-5-billion-to-nothing-forbes-revises-estimated-net-worth-of-theranos-founder-elizabeth-holmes/#523aff1f2f29  The link says it all...  Holmes and Perry seem to be crashing and burning at the same time.   "Peas in a pod" as the saying goes.
 

Offline chris_leyson

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #497 on: June 06, 2016, 07:43:38 AM »
Anyone who has worked with ultrasound will tell you it doesn't propagate any distance through air, I know this from designing medical blood flow transducers, I've got practical hands on experience. I wouldn't waste time considering power transmission though air, as for data maybe you could get a few kbits/s. From a coupling point of view, magnetic coupling is probably better and there are some crazy projects out there that claim or aim for coupling over a few meters distance. What the hell is wrong with a Qi charger. I sometimes think  that the people developing this sort of shit are really lacking in terms of intelligence just like the the free energy over unity nuts. I could shout PHYSICS 101 but stupid blinkered people would filter that out. Rant over and back to normallity.
 

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #498 on: June 06, 2016, 12:21:54 PM »
I enjoyed Paul Reynolds take on uBeam and comparison to Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos.  Interesting Forbes article at http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2016/06/01/from-4-5-billion-to-nothing-forbes-revises-estimated-net-worth-of-theranos-founder-elizabeth-holmes/#523aff1f2f29  The link says it all...  Holmes and Perry seem to be crashing and burning at the same time.   "Peas in a pod" as the saying goes.

Perry will no doubt be watching Holme's demise with some fear.
Although Perry doesn't have to worry about the potential of criminal charges and/or jail.
The best Perry can hope for now is someone is dumb enough to buy them or their IP (possible for some niche). More investment isn't going to help, it will just prolong the agony. Although any company with any brains that would find their tech useful for something need only wait it out and pick up it all up for cents on the dollar when the receivers move in.
 

Offline Danseur

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #499 on: June 07, 2016, 06:10:41 AM »
Anyone who has worked with ultrasound will tell you it doesn't propagate any distance through air, I know this from designing medical blood flow transducers, I've got practical hands on experience. I wouldn't waste time considering power transmission though air, as for data maybe you could get a few kbits/s. From a coupling point of view, magnetic coupling is probably better and there are some crazy projects out there that claim or aim for coupling over a few meters distance. What the hell is wrong with a Qi charger. I sometimes think  that the people developing this sort of shit are really lacking in terms of intelligence just like the the free energy over unity nuts. I could shout PHYSICS 101 but stupid blinkered people would filter that out. Rant over and back to normallity.

Tightly coupled resonating induction charging can indeed go several meters with passable efficiency (50%).  The problem is that the transmitter and receiver need to be very large.  As soon as you go past a few times the diameter of the induction ring, efficiency drops rapidly.
 


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