Author Topic: The uBeam FAQ  (Read 364472 times)

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Offline brainwash

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1075 on: November 18, 2017, 04:38:01 am »
They said earlier that the efficiency is "currently much lower than desired" and did not give any figure.
They also mention potential partnerships with Samsung, Kia, American Airlines(?), Telefonica(?) ... - but disguised - in a table near the end. But basically everything was at initial discussion stage, except with Telefonica(?) where a demo is expected in Spain.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 04:39:36 am by brainwash »
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1076 on: November 18, 2017, 04:39:24 am »
A group photo 51:34 that looks odd to my eye, like some people have been pasted in.

 
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1077 on: November 18, 2017, 04:43:16 am »
They also mention potential partnerships with Samsung, Kia, American Airlines(?), Telefonica(?) ... - but disguised - in a table near the end. But basically everything was at initial discussion stage

Which of course means diddly squat. Where is their big touted deal with Starbucks that the company sold so heavily all those years ago?
The answer is that these discussion always come to naught, if they they are actually serious discussions at all.
All a company has to do is go in and pitch their idea to said company (who laugh in their face) and they can claim they are "in discussions with", or have "potential partnership with" etc.
uBeam has nothing even close to a trial for any sort of practical mobile phone charging, and demonstrably never will. Which is why they have shifted focus to all these other areas, and talking about a license based model etc.
 
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Offline brainwash

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1078 on: November 18, 2017, 04:48:01 am »
I know the reason for that table, just thought I mention the fact more as a joke. I can only imagine the discussion with the telecom company, where they just laughed and said "sure, we'll work together, come here and give us a demo". Probably some bets were placed...

Edit: but I think the real summary of that video is that they didn't demo any technology, which is pretty telling for some company that spent some millions just to have a plain webcast after a couple of years. Trying to raise money on hope and wishes. They do mention ~90 patent applications, 17 approved in US, but those could have been for a new coffee mug, haven't researched into that.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 04:53:41 am by brainwash »
 

Offline brainwash

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1079 on: November 18, 2017, 05:01:28 am »
Actually, after 5 seconds of googling: http://stks.freshpatents.com/Ubeam-Inc-nm1.php
Some patents are obviously very generic, can't imagine how stuff like this can get past initial inspection:
https://patents.google.com/patent/US20170125184A1/en
https://patents.google.com/patent/US20170110886A1/en
 

Offline Cyberdragon

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1080 on: November 18, 2017, 05:49:33 am »
Patents no longer require working models, you can patent anything, even a plastic dingo dong if you wanted. I wish we could go back to the good old days when you had to bring the machine into the office or have someone come and inspect it. Sadly that's probably not practicle anymore. :( :--

Wait a minute...I thought you couldn't patent something in current use. I think that first one is probably illegal and therefore meaningless.
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Offline PaulReynolds

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1081 on: November 18, 2017, 07:24:58 am »
A group photo 51:34 that looks odd to my eye, like some people have been pasted in.



I'm glad someone else spotted this because some former members of the uBeam team just got back from a very nice dinner laughing about exactly this. You're asking for $20 million and you can't even get a group photo?
 

Offline PaulReynolds

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1082 on: November 18, 2017, 07:29:53 am »
Just the quick "executive summary" of that video:

Transmitter power density is quoted to be >1kW/sqm, actual transmitter is projected to be 0.33sqm (so ~300W).
A graph shows efficiency vs other methods, at 20% efficiency it lists 5W @ 1m, 1W @ 1.25m. At 60% efficiency it lists 1W@2m. No mention of transmitter power but the line seems to extend to 300W.
Theoretical projected efficiency quoted at 30%, current efficiency "much lower".
Applications are listed include data transmission and retail (user) tracking.
It's unregulated, OSHA dropped ultrasonic limits earlier this year as no adverse effects could be demonstrated. No effect on humans or animals. Most of the power is believed to be targeted towards the device and "99.9999%" reflects off the skin.
A vision system does the array steering, quoted mm precision and 30Hz update rate.
Business plan seems focused on IP licensing.
Most prior funding and future (this round) is going towards engineering and ASIC design. That's 26+20MM.
Final product, transducer, aims to be 100x thinner, 4x smaller with lower cost and higher power [density] than current offerings.

Those are the unbiased redacted quotes above. What caught my eye were a few small things: a big "transducer" sitting inside a car, close to the roof, as proof-of-concept. A low battery warning on the presenter's laptop. A group photo 51:34 that looks odd to my eye, like some people have been pasted in.

Wait. 333 Watts acoustic in, 5 Watts to battery? So 1.5% efficiency? From their own numbers?

And that's 333 Watts acoustic out of the transmitter. Assuming 50% efficiency from wall socket to acoustic output, that's 666 Watts at the wall socket and 0.75% efficiency *under ideal circumstances and from their own numbers*.

661 Watts wasted as heat to charge a phone at 5 Watts, best case?

Wow. I guess they've just confirmed pretty much what I've been writing in my blog then.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 07:41:46 am by PaulReynolds »
 

Offline PaulReynolds

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1083 on: November 18, 2017, 07:39:07 am »
OSHA comments are weird - that's not how I've seen them work before. And there are papers out there where ultrasound at >145dB kills and burns small animals. That's a "I want to see more" on that. They've not updated their webpage if things have actually changed:

https://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/new_noise/#appendixc

The 99.9999% is not correct - it's ~99.90% in theory, but that's bare flesh to air. Hair is the problem here, and results in way greater loss on the skin. That's where burns can come from at high intensity.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 07:43:00 am by PaulReynolds »
 

Offline brainwash

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1084 on: November 18, 2017, 08:08:03 am »
OSHA comments are weird - that's not how I've seen them work before. And there are papers out there where ultrasound at >145dB kills and burns small animals. That's a "I want to see more" on that. They've not updated their webpage if things have actually changed:

https://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/new_noise/#appendixc

The 99.9999% is not correct - it's ~99.90% in theory, but that's bare flesh to air. Hair is the problem here, and results in way greater loss on the skin. That's where burns can come from at high intensity.

TBH, the OSHA requirements only go up to 50 kHz and concern subharmonics. Assuming ubeam goes above 100kHz, no restrictions should apply.
That's why I found the car system flawed: the transmitter is hovering near heads at full power (300W), at a distance of 15-45cm, to deliver 1W (not 5!) to a phone that's 1.2m away. Phased arrays are not as directional as a mechanical system, they have significant side lobes.

Actually, after 5 seconds of googling: http://stks.freshpatents.com/Ubeam-Inc-nm1.php
Some patents are obviously very generic, can't imagine how stuff like this can get past initial inspection:
https://patents.google.com/patent/US20170125184A1/en
https://patents.google.com/patent/US20170110886A1/en


Sorry if some ubeam engineers are reading this and finding it offensive. Did not mean it that way, in case you've put work into this, but those kind of patents, like software ones, are superfluous and almost common knowledge. The first one is a custom H-bridge. The second one is power negotiation, used all over the place (phone charging) but reworded for wireless.
Essentially the second one means that, if anyone manages to actually create a wireless power transfer system, they have to pay royalties for whoever holds the patent. You have to have some sort of power negotiation given the efficiency. That's just stupid and broken.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1085 on: November 18, 2017, 08:10:48 am »
Wait. 333 Watts acoustic in, 5 Watts to battery? So 1.5% efficiency? From their own numbers?
And that's 333 Watts acoustic out of the transmitter. Assuming 50% efficiency from wall socket to acoustic output, that's 666 Watts at the wall socket and 0.75% efficiency *under ideal circumstances and from their own numbers*.
661 Watts wasted as heat to charge a phone at 5 Watts, best case?
Wow. I guess they've just confirmed pretty much what I've been writing in my blog then.

Yep, I don't see any other way to interpret those numbers.
It's why Meredith wouldn't actually say the efficiency when asked directly (she isn't dumb), because if she says 1.5% then that's what gets picked up by everyone, and even Joe Average knows that's horrible.
If she never actually says the number then it forces people to actually do the basic calcs themselves (and the usual media will never do that).
 

Online Fungus

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1086 on: November 18, 2017, 01:59:46 pm »
They said earlier that the efficiency is "currently much lower than desired"

Hence the need for more money.

Some patents are obviously very generic, can't imagine how stuff like this can get past initial inspection:

Simple: The patent office gets paid when they accept a patent, not when they reject one.

If it's spurious? The courts can decide that later. Either way the patent office still got paid.

 
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1087 on: November 18, 2017, 02:09:10 pm »
They said earlier that the efficiency is "currently much lower than desired"

Hence the need for more money.

Call me cynical, but when you've had 5 years, $21m, and the best acoustics people in the business working for you, and you aren't even close. I'm not sure what another $20m and two years is going to do for your efficiency, esp when most of those acoustics people have given up and jumped ship because they realise almost all the losses are fundamentally in the transmission medium itself  |O
 
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Offline brainwash

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1088 on: November 18, 2017, 02:44:37 pm »

Call me cynical, but when you've had 5 years, $21m, and the best acoustics people in the business working for you, and you aren't even close. I'm not sure what another $20m and two years is going to do for your efficiency, esp when most of those acoustics people have given up and jumped ship because they realise almost all the losses are fundamentally in the transmission medium itself  |O

$26M so far, so they've said in the webinar.

I'm curious to find out what those engineers thought it was possible and how. I'm sure we're not the first ones to question feasibility and they obviously have/had the necessary know-how. But probably that information is under NDA and it might be years before someone speaks out.
Hence my question from a few pages ago, summarized as "what are the ideal and practical efficiencies of a phased array in air?".

Also, they said "theoretical 30% efficiency", but that can have many sides. The graph shows receiver efficiency. Phased array has an efficiency of its own. Then there are medium losses. So assuming a transmitter efficiency of 70% and a projected figure of 30% overall, they might be targeting a 42% receiver conversion, before medium comes in (which would drop everything to <1%). Just my spin on the numbers.
 

Offline Howardlong

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1089 on: November 18, 2017, 05:40:37 pm »
Also, they said "theoretical 30% efficiency", but that can have many sides. The graph shows receiver efficiency. Phased array has an efficiency of its own. Then there are medium losses. So assuming a transmitter efficiency of 70% and a projected figure of 30% overall, they might be targeting a 42% receiver conversion, before medium comes in (which would drop everything to <1%). Just my spin on the numbers.

There is a fundamental problem of receiver aperture size at the wavelengths they’re using. The receiver is also an array, which is why they need the surface area of a brick on the mobile device to make this work at even these crappy efficiencies. Trying to concentrate into a smaller aperture will increase non-linearity and decrease efficiency, so sure enough it ends up being a physics and engineering problem for all those poor linear thinking experts Ms Perry holds in such disdain.

Conspiratorially, it would not surprise me if there was negligible energy harvesting going on in their recent demos, and the cell phone recharge status was predominantly due to pre-charged batteries in the brick emptying their load into the phone once in view of the transmitter.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 06:03:59 pm by Howardlong »
 

Offline mcinque

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1090 on: November 18, 2017, 05:45:03 pm »
I'm not sure what another $20m and two years is going to do for your efficiency
Not much for their efficency, but a little more for their wallets
I'm basically still a rookie and because of this, even with the best intentions, I often say bullshits
 

Offline StillTrying

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1091 on: November 18, 2017, 06:41:53 pm »
Well that was a waste of 2 hours, I don't know how they keep the attention of anybody, I fell asleep about 4 times.

Strangely, the wirelessly powered TVs and monitors have now become the transmitters, although the stick on light bulbs are still a goer.

If 99.999% of the US energy is reflected off skin :o how much is reflected of the hard back surface of a phone.

Would that in-car-transmitter have cameras to search for the phones/rectangles, ignoring the fact it would have to see the back of the phone, would it work in the dark.

Pets and 40kHz are mentioned/fluffed around 55:00, she says ~99.9% of the energy is just in the beam, my cat would disagree even at a few mW TX, - don't forget 99.999% gets reflected!

So assuming a transmitter efficiency of 70% and a projected figure of 30% overall, they might be targeting a 42% receiver conversion, before medium comes in (which would drop everything to <1%). Just my spin on the numbers.

Yeah, I still think in any practicable use they'll still be under 1%.  :horse:
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 12:29:29 am by StillTrying »
CML+  That took much longer than I thought it would.
 

Offline PaulReynolds

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1092 on: November 18, 2017, 07:00:59 pm »
OSHA comments are weird - that's not how I've seen them work before. And there are papers out there where ultrasound at >145dB kills and burns small animals. That's a "I want to see more" on that. They've not updated their webpage if things have actually changed:

https://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/new_noise/#appendixc

The 99.9999% is not correct - it's ~99.90% in theory, but that's bare flesh to air. Hair is the problem here, and results in way greater loss on the skin. That's where burns can come from at high intensity.

TBH, the OSHA requirements only go up to 50 kHz and concern subharmonics. Assuming ubeam goes above 100kHz, no restrictions should apply.
That's why I found the car system flawed: the transmitter is hovering near heads at full power (300W), at a distance of 15-45cm, to deliver 1W (not 5!) to a phone that's 1.2m away. Phased arrays are not as directional as a mechanical system, they have significant side lobes.



The table you are referring to in saying they only go to 50 kHz is labelled "Select Examples of Threshold Limit Values for Ultrasound Measured in Air" and does not contain all the ranges of the ACGIH limits. To quote "These recommended limits (set at the middle frequencies of the one-third octave bands from 10 kHz to 100 kHz) are designed to prevent possible hearing loss caused by the subharmonics of the set frequencies, rather than the ultrasound itself. " If you do the 1/3 octaves below 100kHz that also includes ~64 and ~80 kHz. uBeam was clearly stated publicly by the company to operate between 45 and 75 kHz. These OSHA requirements definitively, as written here, apply.

Attenuation at 50 kHz in air is significant. It's even moreso at 100 kHz.

Phased arrays can minimize/eliminate grating lobes by ensuring wavelength/2 pitch. If they have significant surface wave activity, you can also get side lobes. Grating lobes and side lobes manifest in a similar way but are not the same physical phenomena. One of my blog posts from February point out that if you create a phased array of Murata style devices that are 10mm in diameter, and you have 8mm or less wavelength, that you will get grating lobes, without question.

Subharmonics are generated by the main frequency in the ear. Weird stuff starts to happen in the ear at 110 to 120 dB, you get a loud first subharmonic at half the frequency. Start going into the 130/140 range and you can also generate a second subharmonic at 1/4 the frequency that's maybe 40ish dB down. So a 150dB 40 kHz signal may create a 10 kHz signal at 90dB. That would be unpleasant. I need to do a blog post on subharmonics I think, and link to the papers showing this.
 

Offline PaulReynolds

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1093 on: November 18, 2017, 07:08:59 pm »

Actually, after 5 seconds of googling: http://stks.freshpatents.com/Ubeam-Inc-nm1.php
Some patents are obviously very generic, can't imagine how stuff like this can get past initial inspection:
https://patents.google.com/patent/US20170125184A1/en
https://patents.google.com/patent/US20170110886A1/en


Sorry if some ubeam engineers are reading this and finding it offensive. Did not mean it that way, in case you've put work into this, but those kind of patents, like software ones, are superfluous and almost common knowledge. The first one is a custom H-bridge. The second one is power negotiation, used all over the place (phone charging) but reworded for wireless.
Essentially the second one means that, if anyone manages to actually create a wireless power transfer system, they have to pay royalties for whoever holds the patent. You have to have some sort of power negotiation given the efficiency. That's just stupid and broken.

So I'm one of the uBeam engineers whose name is on one of those patents. No offense at all, and I'll speak for the other engineers and say they're not offended either. Many former (and I think current) uBeam engineers read this blog. It's very popular among us, we often talk about it. As someone mentions in another reply - the startup business is a game with rules, and we play within those rules. I think the USPTO allows patents it shouldn't, but those are the rules of the game. Don't for a moment think the engineers don't understand the relative novelty of their work, they are often shocked when they get granted too.

An interesting point - Every single one of the engineers named in those 2 patents has left the company. I'll also add each of them was a very talented engineer I'd happily work with again. Even funnier - going down the list of applications chronologically, I'm listed as an inventor in most of them, and I left the company 2 years ago! I expect that with an Intellectual Ventures guy on board now that the number of patent applications will rise rapidly.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 07:12:45 pm by PaulReynolds »
 

Offline PaulReynolds

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1094 on: November 18, 2017, 07:12:01 pm »


I'm curious to find out what those engineers thought it was possible and how. I'm sure we're not the first ones to question feasibility and they obviously have/had the necessary know-how. But probably that information is under NDA and it might be years before someone speaks out.


Seriously? I write an entire blog that covers exactly this!  |O

http://liesandstartuppr.blogspot.com/2016/04/tilting-at-windmills.html
 

Online Fungus

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1095 on: November 18, 2017, 08:46:32 pm »
Would that in-car-transmitter have cameras to search for the phones/rectangles, ignoring the fact it would have to see the back of the phone, would it work in the dark.

There's an in-car transmitter? :scared: :scared: :scared:
 

Offline brainwash

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1096 on: November 18, 2017, 09:11:12 pm »


I'm curious to find out what those engineers thought it was possible and how. I'm sure we're not the first ones to question feasibility and they obviously have/had the necessary know-how. But probably that information is under NDA and it might be years before someone speaks out.


Seriously? I write an entire blog that covers exactly this!  |O

http://liesandstartuppr.blogspot.com/2016/04/tilting-at-windmills.html

Sorry, it wasn't obvious to me that you've worked there, I saw the name of the blog and foolishly assumed that someone is writing about startups, the kind of generic "motivational" blogs all over LinkedIn. Very superficial of me.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1097 on: November 18, 2017, 11:52:15 pm »
They are still in engineering development. So all those times they said they were close to production was all pie-in-the-sky BS. Of course this was obvious from their public demos.
And any real viable product is long way off, just more speculation and assuming that companies will actually wan to license this stuff, or people will want to buy anything they have, or that regulation isn't a going to be a problem, etc etc.

« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 11:54:21 pm by EEVblog »
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1098 on: November 18, 2017, 11:56:53 pm »
And what possible reason could there be for spending money on an ASIC at this early stage? It's only ultrasonic - nothing that couldn't be handled by an FPGA/DSP and off-the-shelf analogue parts. $20M buys a lot of those.
 
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #1099 on: November 19, 2017, 12:00:18 am »
Can't believe they are continuing to just spew this rubbish out.
They can barely get a mobile phone brick receiver working after 5 years under ideal circumstances.

 


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