Author Topic: EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!  (Read 903 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline mdszy

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 291
  • Country: us
  • somehow has an ee degree
    • szy.io
EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!
« on: June 26, 2019, 01:05:14 pm »


Everyone's favorite impractical technology ship, the SS uBeam has finally hit the iceberg, but what's left of the band is still playing as it sinks!

 #uBeam #WirelessPower #FAIL
somehow allowed to be a Pixie Wrangler in Training
eBay Store | My site | Hackaday.io Projects | my mastodon.technology profile
 

Offline mdszy

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 291
  • Country: us
  • somehow has an ee degree
    • szy.io
Re: EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2019, 01:07:04 pm »
I find it pretty hilarious how they used a PROPANE powered forklift as their stock footage, and didn't even bother finding stock footage of an electric forklift running  :-DD

And uBeam in a car? Where 12V is available wherever, at very high currents? Good luck cranking a car over ultrasonic!
somehow allowed to be a Pixie Wrangler in Training
eBay Store | My site | Hackaday.io Projects | my mastodon.technology profile
 
The following users thanked this post: cpt.armadillo

Offline MrMobodies

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 558
  • Country: gb
Re: EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2019, 02:08:17 pm »
Some of her statements seem to collide.
Quote
04:37 I was not an engineer
07.28 I didn't know enough about the technology to determine if it could work or not.
12.00 considering my scientific background was at the undergraduate level.
12.03 And my engineering was largely self-taught
12.07 So asking seven people the same question and averaging the answer
12.12 was a very inefficient way about doing things
13:18 Every single argument over why the technology couldn't work
13:20 has been indisputably wrong.

How would she know is she doesn't understand the technology in terms of practicality.

I am not sure they literally told her from her speech that "It wouldn't work" or "It would be too impractical."


I made a little rearrangement with some other quotes:
Quote
09:29 I could tell you about the science and how it works,
09:31 but I had absolutely no idea how to wire anything together.
04:37 I was not an engineer
07:31 I was reading "Electrical Engineering For Dummies"
12.03 And my engineering was largely self-taught.
12:58 such as -- from authoritative sources such as Wikipedia.

13.54 Being Naive is sometimes a good thing.
10.56 So I flew around the country talking to the top professors
13:03 And when I would present my progress to the engineers
10.21 They told me that it could never work on a larger scale,

10.53 But despite my optimism, I still felt insecure
12:46 As Steve Jobs said, I had to think differently.
12:51 So I found solutions based on the acoustics of musical instruments,
11:29 This taught me to be skeptical of experts
11.29 I became immune to the naysayers.
00:57 I try to think like this whenever I learn about a new technology,

11.26 But depsite my frustration, this was a very important lesson for me to learn.
14:50 "That can't work."
11.58 And this was a very daunting prospect
13:20 has been indisputably wrong.
08:50 This was crazy.
10:04 the amount of power that we got out
07:37 I thought they would think I was stupid.
10:15 from real engineers.
07.28 I didn't know enough about the technology to determine if it could work or not.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2019, 02:13:31 pm by MrMobodies »
 

Offline ludzinc

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 469
  • Country: au
    • My Misadventures In Engineering
Re: EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2019, 04:14:33 pm »
I find it pretty hilarious how they used a PROPANE powered forklift as their stock footage, and didn't even bother finding stock footage of an electric forklift running  :-DD

And uBeam in a car? Where 12V is available wherever, at very high currents? Good luck cranking a car over ultrasonic!

To be fair, the ad calls out powering sensors on the forklift, not the forklift itself.

To be critical, how would this be better than a CR2032 cell powering the sensor?  Answer - not at all!
 

Offline mdszy

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 291
  • Country: us
  • somehow has an ee degree
    • szy.io
Re: EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2019, 10:21:40 pm »

To be fair, the ad calls out powering sensors on the forklift, not the forklift itself.

To be critical, how would this be better than a CR2032 cell powering the sensor?  Answer - not at all!

And again, couldn't they just use the forklift's power system to power the sensor? These vehicles have lots of power available all over them!
somehow allowed to be a Pixie Wrangler in Training
eBay Store | My site | Hackaday.io Projects | my mastodon.technology profile
 

Offline Jacon

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 23
  • Country: pl
Re: EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2019, 10:24:12 pm »
This all uBeam crap resembles that infamous Elisabeth Holmes with her Theranos to me  :palm:
 

Offline rrinker

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1854
  • Country: us
Re: EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2019, 11:25:21 pm »
I find it pretty hilarious how they used a PROPANE powered forklift as their stock footage, and didn't even bother finding stock footage of an electric forklift running  :-DD

And uBeam in a car? Where 12V is available wherever, at very high currents? Good luck cranking a car over ultrasonic!

 While I agree this product is completely impractical, I think what they meant by having the icon on the fork truck was to power the scanner/picking terminal mounted on it, not the fork truck itself. Still silly because propane or electric fork truck, the power demands of the scanner would be minuscule compared to driving the truck or operating the hydraulics, so it's still pretty pointless to uBeam the power.
 

Offline Deodand2014

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 101
  • Country: au
Re: EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2019, 11:33:25 pm »
That TEDx talk at the end made me think of a couple of episodes of the (currently on hiatus) Exposing PseudoAstronomy podcast, in the first the host takes on someone making claims that there is a tenth planet in the solar system:

Quote
This also gets into one of my pet peeves with the "amateur scientist" type who claims to re-write physics: They often say that mainstream scientists would never come up with their solution because mainstream science is all so specialized, that different fields effectively don't talk with each other. But the amateur scientist does.

In fact, this is a perfect example of how this is often the OPPOSITE of what's true: By ignoring these other effects, by ignoring the full implications of what he's proposing, Andy comes up with a solution to a fake problem that no professional would suggest because of these implications from other fields.

Link to full show notes
http://podcast.sjrdesign.net/shownotes_071.php

The other discusses why science is hard and expensive:

Quote
But this also gets to a broader issue of a so-called “amateur scientist” who may wish to conduct an experiment to try to “prove” their non-mainstream idea: They have to do this extra stuff. Doing your experiment and getting weird results does not prove anything. This is also why doing science is hard and why only a very small fraction of it is the glamorous press release and cool results. So much of it is testing, baseline measurements, data gathering, and data reduction and then repeating it over and over again.

Link to full show notes
http://podcast.sjrdesign.net/shownotes_082.php
 

Offline Jan Audio

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 177
  • Country: nl
Re: EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2019, 12:10:41 am »
Funny, jet engine, forklift, medical stuff.
In amerika they have a word for this : wishfull thinking.
If you believe in it and donate it gonna be alright.
 

Offline SparkyFX

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 395
  • Country: de
Re: EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2019, 12:18:37 am »
No one questions that (ultra)sound transports energy... No one questions that sound can be focused. Ultrasound applications itself are all over the place. The technical limitations are buried in the question which amount of mass you can drive at ultrasonic frequency and how you pick it up again without losing resonance (w/o backchannel to the sender).
Then line of sight and a somewhat steady position present harsh requirements when your key selling point is to energize mobile applications.

Maybe it´s a marketing technique to exaggerate the con side, so that the pro side looks more favourable.
But seriously, when the results show that only a small amount of energy can be transferred and the problem for this solution needs to be searched, the marketing for it might be to bold.

No one could argue about it if there was an actual application that works.
Support your local planet.
 

Offline EEVblog

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 29194
  • Country: au
    • EEVblog
Re: EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2019, 12:34:19 am »
While I agree this product is completely impractical, I think what they meant by having the icon on the fork truck was to power the scanner/picking terminal mounted on it, not the fork truck itself. Still silly because propane or electric fork truck, the power demands of the scanner would be minuscule compared to driving the truck or operating the hydraulics, so it's still pretty pointless to uBeam the power.

Even then it's a ridiculous solution.
Have you seen what forklifts do and how they move and spin around constantly.
From uBeam's own data we know that anything beyond a 1-2m is pointless for anything but low power sensor types devices, so it's shot right there.
Then you need the directional system to work and it'd have to mounted on the top and have a larger capture area 360deg receiver array.
Then it doesn't work when it goes between shelving etc, so it shot down right there again.
All that dicking around and complexity and finickiness to power a low power device you could power all day from a small rechargeable battery for 100% operational reliability, it's no contest, ultrasonic wireless power in this instance, and most other instances is just a complete non-starter.
This is why in 8 years they haven't made a single real-world truly useful practical demo despite 10's of millions of dollars and some of the best engineering talent available. And those same engineers who worked on it will tell you the same thing.
 
The following users thanked this post: ludzinc

Offline mdszy

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 291
  • Country: us
  • somehow has an ee degree
    • szy.io
Re: EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2019, 01:24:42 am »
This is why in 8 years they haven't made a single real-world truly useful practical demo despite 10's of millions of dollars and some of the best engineering talent available. And those same engineers who worked on it will tell you the same thing.

Wait wait wait, I thought you COULDN'T be an engineer to build these things! Engineers think too linearly to figure this stuff out! That's their problem, they hired TOO MANY engineers!
somehow allowed to be a Pixie Wrangler in Training
eBay Store | My site | Hackaday.io Projects | my mastodon.technology profile
 

Offline SparkyFX

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 395
  • Country: de
Re: EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2019, 02:30:49 am »
Catch-22, without them funding would have been too hard.
Support your local planet.
 

Offline schmitt trigger

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1244
  • Country: mx
Re: EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2019, 03:37:20 am »
I only have an explanation for the proliferation of all these pseudo-science nuts: The flat-earthers are starting to metastasize.

 

Offline SparkyFX

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 395
  • Country: de
Re: EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2019, 04:04:08 am »
So on a flat earth it would work? Wait a second, .... so it proves earth is not flat, otherwise it would work?  :-DD
Like... a model that accurately describes shadows, the water cycle, zodiac signs on northern and southern hemisphere?

No, what you got there is very easy money. The right keywords were applied: new technology, somewhat household buzzwords, top people, working demo. And that pays their bills, so it seems.

Who in his right mind throws away such amounts of money - would be the question.
Support your local planet.
 

Offline rrinker

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1854
  • Country: us
Re: EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2019, 04:42:37 am »
 Oh I agree it's still a silly idea with little real-world practicality.

I can think of a way it MIGHT be used, at least with an electric fork truck. Not as a constant power source, but for charging. Electric for trucks are typically parked in a fixed location where the charging station is - so you have  machine standing still for some time with, very likely, the back side (non-screen) of the electronic device pointed right at a wall. And only a meter or less from said wall. About best case for uBeam. But yes, still way too complex when all you need to do is power the device from the fork truck's massive battery pack, the additional draw of that device running (which still needs RF wireless networkng!) would maybe mean you can drive the fork truck a few centimeters less per charge - meaningless. And no fancy pants ultrasonic transmitter and receiver needed.

It's sort of like the newest craze (so it seems) in model railroads - Dead Rail, which is a battery on board the locomotive and no power to the tracks. This is barely practical with current battery chemistry in HO scale. Smaller scales, forget it. In larger scales, especially G scale outdoors in the garden, it's been done for years - because if you think keeping track clean indoors is tough, try it with track left out in the weather, year around. An intermediate idea would be to power most of the track, and have the battery charge whenever there was sufficient power, but the battery would run things over dirty or deliberately left dead areas, thus extending the run time. This may be the sort of thing uBeam is trying to promote, since anything that freely moves around is never going to stay in line of site for full power transfer of one of their transmitters, but use it for opportunistic charging - maybe, just MAYBE it could do something. But since you can't set your portable device down, you can't hold it with your hand over the back, and all the other restrictions with ultrasonic transfer - in the end, nope. Not worth it.

 

Offline mdszy

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 291
  • Country: us
  • somehow has an ee degree
    • szy.io
Re: EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2019, 05:17:39 am »
Oh I agree it's still a silly idea with little real-world practicality.

I can think of a way it MIGHT be used, at least with an electric fork truck. Not as a constant power source, but for charging. Electric for trucks are typically parked in a fixed location where the charging station is - so you have  machine standing still for some time with, very likely, the back side (non-screen) of the electronic device pointed right at a wall. And only a meter or less from said wall. About best case for uBeam. But yes, still way too complex when all you need to do is power the device from the fork truck's massive battery pack, the additional draw of that device running (which still needs RF wireless networkng!) would maybe mean you can drive the fork truck a few centimeters less per charge - meaningless. And no fancy pants ultrasonic transmitter and receiver needed.

It's sort of like the newest craze (so it seems) in model railroads - Dead Rail, which is a battery on board the locomotive and no power to the tracks. This is barely practical with current battery chemistry in HO scale. Smaller scales, forget it. In larger scales, especially G scale outdoors in the garden, it's been done for years - because if you think keeping track clean indoors is tough, try it with track left out in the weather, year around. An intermediate idea would be to power most of the track, and have the battery charge whenever there was sufficient power, but the battery would run things over dirty or deliberately left dead areas, thus extending the run time. This may be the sort of thing uBeam is trying to promote, since anything that freely moves around is never going to stay in line of site for full power transfer of one of their transmitters, but use it for opportunistic charging - maybe, just MAYBE it could do something. But since you can't set your portable device down, you can't hold it with your hand over the back, and all the other restrictions with ultrasonic transfer - in the end, nope. Not worth it.

There's no way you'd be able to provide enough power to charge a forklift in any reasonable amount of time. Plugging it in when it's parked is really not difficult. On the ones I've used, there's a big-ass connector on the back, you disconnect it, hook the battery-end up to the charger and wait a few hours.

Forklifts weigh on the order of 8000lbs, it takes a lot of juice to get them moving, and the batteries in them are GIGANTIC. At least, again, for the electric ones. The propane ones don't need charging because an alternator on the motor can provide all the electric charging for the small battery inside.

But yeah, no way you could use uBeam to charge a forklift... unless you don't mind waiting a few days for your forklift to charge up.
somehow allowed to be a Pixie Wrangler in Training
eBay Store | My site | Hackaday.io Projects | my mastodon.technology profile
 

Offline thm_w

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1194
  • Country: ca
Re: EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2019, 05:55:55 am »
Some of the Energous advertising material looks very similar to uBeam (same BS with the charging of PC monitors, laptops):
https://ir.energous.com/
https://content.equisolve.net/_798413ccf11eb1375a25a5fd9475e223/energous/db/223/1878/pdf/Energous+Investor+Overview+Jan+2019.pdf
I wonder if there was a non-compete clause for this new CEO guy at all.

They have a dev kit as well but it looks like a simple inductive type charger, not clear what the range is: https://energous.com/applications/hearing-aids-and-psaps/
 
The following users thanked this post: MrMobodies

Offline MrMobodies

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 558
  • Country: gb
Re: EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2019, 08:40:23 am »
Some of the Energous advertising material looks very similar to uBeam (same BS with the charging of PC monitors, laptops):
https://ir.energous.com/
https://content.equisolve.net/_798413ccf11eb1375a25a5fd9475e223/energous/db/223/1878/pdf/Energous+Investor+Overview+Jan+2019.pdf
I wonder if there was a non-compete clause for this new CEO guy at all.

They have a dev kit as well but it looks like a simple inductive type charger, not clear what the range is: https://energous.com/applications/hearing-aids-and-psaps/

And in there I have looked and some of the images look fake and copied from somewhere or some cad package which doesn't inspire any confidence in me.
I knew there was something about those images.
Just do a Google search.
 
The following users thanked this post: thm_w

Offline rrinker

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1854
  • Country: us
Re: EEVblog #1224 - uBeam is Sinking!
« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2019, 01:25:24 am »
Oh I agree it's still a silly idea with little real-world practicality.

I can think of a way it MIGHT be used, at least with an electric fork truck. Not as a constant power source, but for charging. Electric for trucks are typically parked in a fixed location where the charging station is - so you have  machine standing still for some time with, very likely, the back side (non-screen) of the electronic device pointed right at a wall. And only a meter or less from said wall. About best case for uBeam. But yes, still way too complex when all you need to do is power the device from the fork truck's massive battery pack, the additional draw of that device running (which still needs RF wireless networkng!) would maybe mean you can drive the fork truck a few centimeters less per charge - meaningless. And no fancy pants ultrasonic transmitter and receiver needed.

It's sort of like the newest craze (so it seems) in model railroads - Dead Rail, which is a battery on board the locomotive and no power to the tracks. This is barely practical with current battery chemistry in HO scale. Smaller scales, forget it. In larger scales, especially G scale outdoors in the garden, it's been done for years - because if you think keeping track clean indoors is tough, try it with track left out in the weather, year around. An intermediate idea would be to power most of the track, and have the battery charge whenever there was sufficient power, but the battery would run things over dirty or deliberately left dead areas, thus extending the run time. This may be the sort of thing uBeam is trying to promote, since anything that freely moves around is never going to stay in line of site for full power transfer of one of their transmitters, but use it for opportunistic charging - maybe, just MAYBE it could do something. But since you can't set your portable device down, you can't hold it with your hand over the back, and all the other restrictions with ultrasonic transfer - in the end, nope. Not worth it.

There's no way you'd be able to provide enough power to charge a forklift in any reasonable amount of time. Plugging it in when it's parked is really not difficult. On the ones I've used, there's a big-ass connector on the back, you disconnect it, hook the battery-end up to the charger and wait a few hours.

Forklifts weigh on the order of 8000lbs, it takes a lot of juice to get them moving, and the batteries in them are GIGANTIC. At least, again, for the electric ones. The propane ones don't need charging because an alternator on the motor can provide all the electric charging for the small battery inside.

But yeah, no way you could use uBeam to charge a forklift... unless you don't mind waiting a few days for your forklift to charge up.

 No, you misunderstood. I wasn't referring to charging the forklift itself, but the electronic device used by the operator to scan and pick items as they drive around. Since the forklift is stationary when plugged in to its charger, you have a good chance of having a short range, fixed direction for the uBeam system to work to simultaneously charge the electronic device. But - it would just be easier and cheaper to power the electronic device from the big battery pack, with such a minuscule effect on the drain as to not measurably alter how long the forklift can run between charges.
 In the end - another case where it actually could work - but it's not practical or cost effective to bother paying for all the extra uBeam woo woo. I don't think even they were crazy enough to think this technology would work to charge up large battery packs like the forklift or an electric car - just pull your Tesla into the garage and it automatically charges! No need to plug in that pesky charging cable, forget about it, and rip the charger off the wall the next morning! Yeah, not going to happen. Just as soon put a pair of pickups on the underside of the car like a slot car and charge that way.
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf