Author Topic: The uBeam FAQ  (Read 363235 times)

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Offline Corporate666

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #600 on: December 09, 2016, 06:38:19 am »
Haven't you read the safety page on the UBeam website?

Quote
Completely safe, even when standing directly in front of the beam

One of the reasons they give is that:

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Unlike radio frequency emissions, ultrasound decays rapidly in the air.


That's one of the funniest things I've read in a long time....

"Don't worry, our technology is completely safe - it doesn't actually work, so you have nothing to fear!"
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #601 on: December 09, 2016, 06:46:50 am »
Haven't you read the safety page on the UBeam website?
Quote
Completely safe, even when standing directly in front of the beam
One of the reasons they give is that:
Quote
Unlike radio frequency emissions, ultrasound decays rapidly in the air.
That's one of the funniest things I've read in a long time....
"Don't worry, our technology is completely safe - it doesn't actually work, so you have nothing to fear!"

If it's so safe why does the beam switch off when human flesh is in the way?



And I'd love to know how they are doing that:


So if the receiver is say 4m away from the transmitter, how do they know I put my hand in the way 1m from the transmitter?
 

Offline l0rd_hex

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #602 on: December 09, 2016, 07:19:49 am »
So if the receiver is say 4m away from the transmitter, how do they know I put my hand in the way 1m from the transmitter?

Reminds me of a quote from the movie All the President's Men:

I was at a party once, and, uh, Liddy put his hand over a candle, and he kept it there. He kept it right in the flame until his flesh was burned. Somebody said, "What's the trick?" And Liddy said, "The trick is not minding."

Maybe a new slogan for UBeam?
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Offline The_Next_Theranos

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #603 on: December 09, 2016, 09:08:41 am »
Quote
“Having looked carefully at the technology and the business, I have every confidence that this company will change the way we think of charging our devices. The progress that has been made is tremendous. The skill level in the team is very impressive. And I am confident that my business, engineering, and science experience will support the development and commercialization of this vital new technology.”

So this guy joins after 5 years of development and all he's got to say between the lines is basically "it has potential"?
It has potential to change the way we think about charging our devices. It doesn't have the potential to change how we actually charge our devices.  ;D
 

Offline amspire

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #604 on: December 09, 2016, 01:30:24 pm »
So if the receiver is say 4m away from the transmitter, how do they know I put my hand in the way 1m from the transmitter?
And how much ultrasound will reach your ear when you are talking on the phone while the UBeam is charging it?

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Ultrasound has been in used safely over 100 years. It has been studied extensively ..... There is no risk of a cumulative effect

Trouble is they don't seemed to have actually read the research papers from that 100 years, such as

http://archiwum.ciop.pl/59815   or   https://www.degruyter.com/downloadpdf/j/aoa.2013.38.issue-2/aoa-2013-0019/aoa-2013-0019.xml

To have a chance of being safe, then have to a make it impossible for you ear to receive something less then 1/100000th of the beam strength. Even if their beam is so perfectly focussed that zero energy leaves the beam, it only takes a tiny object in the beams path to radiate potentially damaging ultrasound levels.

UBeam claim the investors did an extensive safety audit before investing.

It would be great to actually see that audit.

 

Offline edy

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #605 on: December 09, 2016, 03:01:52 pm »
In my previous post I praised uBeam for not resorting to crowd-funding, and happy that investors who are fully aware of the risks were only involved. Apparently, I was wrong about that. A google search reveals:

https://www.google.ca/search?q=ubeam+crowd-funding

The first two links show $2.6 million raised via crowd-funding platform "OurCrowd":

https://www.crunchbase.com/funding-round/054d7fd8cbaff3d2699b04980f6d3e52
http://labusinessjournal.com/news/2015/dec/18/maker-wireless-charger-losing-investment-power/

See links about OurCrowd and security exchange filing, etc. Not sure exactly what all this means, and whether this type of "crowd-funding" is like Kickstarter/IndieGogo or more tuned to "high-end" type investors (I think they ask minimum $10,000 from each one) and therefore actual legal ownership/shares in the company:

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1658187/000146581815000052/xslFormDX01/primary_doc.xml

http://www.octafinance.com/ourcrowd-investment-in-ubeam-filing-jay-kalish-published-dec-17-sec-form/

http://www.newestfilings.com/232850-ourcrowd-investment-in-ubeam-lp

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Online Fungus

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #606 on: December 09, 2016, 03:51:51 pm »
Reminds me of a quote from the movie All the President's Men:

I was at a party once, and, uh, Liddy put his hand over a candle, and he kept it there. He kept it right in the flame until his flesh was burned. Somebody said, "What's the trick?" And Liddy said, "The trick is not minding."

Maybe a new slogan for UBeam?

It was actually Lawrence of Arabia who said/did that.
 

Online coppice

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #607 on: December 09, 2016, 04:27:42 pm »
Reminds me of a quote from the movie All the President's Men:

I was at a party once, and, uh, Liddy put his hand over a candle, and he kept it there. He kept it right in the flame until his flesh was burned. Somebody said, "What's the trick?" And Liddy said, "The trick is not minding."

Maybe a new slogan for UBeam?

It was actually Lawrence of Arabia who said/did that.
It was said of Lawrence of Arabia that he did that. Who knows? He was the kind of guy legends build around.
 

Offline LabSpokane

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #608 on: December 09, 2016, 04:44:01 pm »
In my previous post I praised uBeam for not resorting to crowd-funding, and happy that investors who are fully aware of the risks were only involved.

Venture Capital finding *is* crowd funding. The crowd just breathes a more rarefied air than most.
 

Online Fungus

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #609 on: December 09, 2016, 04:52:47 pm »
Say what you like about Meredith, she's certainly living the life...
 

Online Fungus

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #610 on: December 09, 2016, 06:21:19 pm »
I just read the entire thread from start to the (current) finish, and I only have to say that Meredith is in good company. After all, a man just got elected President with the vision to "build a wall and make Mexico pay for it", and how is that substantially different than the con being sold as uBeam?

Ummm...let's see: He's promising to be racist with taxpayer money.

Meredith is just spending VC money on making a gadget that doesn't directly hurt people (apart from making them stupider).

Meredith will implode, eventually. Let's hope Trump doesn't take as long.
 

Offline JiggyNinja

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #611 on: December 09, 2016, 07:11:10 pm »
MOD: *** politics deleted ***

Meredith is just spending VC money on making a gadget that doesn't directly hurt people (apart from making them stupider).
Meredith will implode, eventually.

I chose acoustic communication as a topic for my Wireless Communications class in college (I wanted something a bit more unusual and exotic than RF), and my cursory googling while doing research for that paper found no consumer applications for it except the old ultrasonic TV remotes. Everything wireless, even short-range stuff, uses EM (either IR or RF). The only current applications I found for sonic communication is through water (submerged networks or medical implants) or through metal (which blocks EM waves), both of which are niche applications.

Which leads me to this thought: the FCC (and equivalent governing bodies in other countries) limits power transmission in the license free ISM bands to a low level, but the rules must be a lot less strict in a licensed band, otherwise you wouldn't be able to have high-power transmitters for radio or TV. How well would this beam-forming technology work if it was done with antennas instead of ultrasonic transducers and they had a spectrum license? Would you still need to transmit power at the level of a microwave oven just to charge a single phone? Would it be more or less dangerous to biological organisms? Or would a directed beam of RF that string cause way too much interference to other electronics?
@Ninja, you just joined an engineering forum and all you had to say is you do not like Trump. Care to post something about your projects? Or your goal is to use the forum to spread your political dislikes?
I will, this is just the monster thread that caught my eye and sucked me into it when I checked this place out. I am very active on the Arduino forum (same user name) so I'm not just a drive-by troll.

I think it's appropriate to point out that this kind of person can become extremely successful if they can tap into the right vein to puff about. The comparison was already made to a recent example in the medical industry (the fall of Theranos), and I added a current political example. This kind of phenomenon is not simply a result of technical illiteracy, but a much more fundamental failing in our psychology that makes us all susceptible to this kind of trap if we are not vigilant against it.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2016, 09:46:09 am by EEVblog »
 

Offline edy

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #612 on: December 09, 2016, 07:14:01 pm »
Say what you like about Meredith, she's certainly living the life...

True. I wish I thought of this when I was in my 20's.   ;)  No risk, no reward. Everyone knows the stakes and the risks. Meredith got caught up in a wind-storm of excitement on the prospects of this project, encouraged by VC money and the positive media attention (at least initially). She was not going to say no. Obviously the VC's are banking on a big payout so they are willing to risk investing in it. Now that several years have passed and progress has slowed or completely stopped, she has to face the piper. But like all of these projects, they usually fade quietly away. Meredith is only the "face" of uBeam and naive and obviously unsure of the scientific merits of whether the technology is possible, but she paid these engineers who gladly took a salary to try and see if they could make it happen.... I wouldn't say she did any of this with mal-intent. Wireless charging through ultrasound just happens to be a tough nut to crack and a bottomless pit of investment is going to be needed to make it happen.
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Offline JiggyNinja

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #613 on: December 09, 2016, 08:10:27 pm »
True. I wish I thought of this when I was in my 20's.   ;)  No risk, no reward. Everyone knows the stakes and the risks. Meredith got caught up in a wind-storm of excitement on the prospects of this project, encouraged by VC money and the positive media attention (at least initially). She was not going to say no. Obviously the VC's are banking on a big payout so they are willing to risk investing in it. Now that several years have passed and progress has slowed or completely stopped, she has to face the piper. But like all of these projects, they usually fade quietly away. Meredith is only the "face" of uBeam and naive and obviously unsure of the scientific merits of whether the technology is possible, but she paid these engineers who gladly took a salary to try and see if they could make it happen.... I wouldn't say she did any of this with mal-intent.
Except for those pesky things like "ethics" and "integrity" that I'm sure are holding you back. People like Meredith don't get "caught up" in this kind of excitement, they intentionally try to create it so they can ride the wave high without ever bothering to really think ahead about if they'll be able to actually fulfill the promise. They stoke the flames, and won't take responsibility when it flares up and burns them.

You might try and excuse her by saying she was making claims that she did not know were impossible, but I have a different view. She was being incredibly irresponsible by making grandiose claims about things that she had no idea about whether they were possible or not.

I have no medical experience at all, so I why don't I try to pitch the development of a new drug to some VCs, one that will cure all known diseases! After all, life (and therefore disease) is just chemistry, so it should be possible to design a chemical that has any pharmacological effect that I desire. The laws of physics do not prohibit such a drug from existing, so it must be possible. Invest now! Don't mind the fact that I can't tell my ethanols from my methanols, I have vision, determination, and the chutzpah to tell people far more skilled than me that I'm your boss, and don't you dare forget it. That's all an innovator really needs.

I hope that anyone here would be informed enough to know why such a pitch is stupid. Even if the person is well-intentioned and is not a cynical schemer, such careless (some would say reckless) optimism does not deserve to be treated favorably. It supports the person's unrealistic views about the world and leads to wasted effort like this whole mess.

Quote
Wireless charging through ultrasound just happens to be a tough nut to crack and a bottomless pit of investment is going to be needed to make it happen.
It's not just that it's a "tough nut to crack", it's a pointless and dumb nut to crack. Any place like a restaurant that wanted to make it convenient for customers to charge their phones would be better off building inductive chargers into the tables and marking where they are, or building micro USB or USB-C cables into the tables. An idea like uBeam isn't dumb just because it's hard, it's dumb because there are better ways of achieving the same goal.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #614 on: December 10, 2016, 09:37:09 am »
I think it's appropriate to point out that this kind of person can become extremely successful if they can tap into the right vein to puff about. The comparison was already made to a recent example in the medical industry (the fall of Theranos), and I added a current political example.

Please do not add politics here, it is one of the subjects that tends to get threads locked and people banned.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #615 on: December 10, 2016, 09:43:56 am »
Wireless charging through ultrasound just happens to be a tough nut to crack and a bottomless pit of investment is going to be needed to make it happen.

No it won't, and it's that thinking that is the cause of this problem with uBeam. It's an idea that should have died after a week or two of brainstorming with some experts in the field. The impracticality of it for the intended purposes is guaranteed by some basic physics and engineering of the medium and technique used.

You can pour in all the money you like, when you are out by several orders of magnitude on decent efficiency no amount of technical PhD hand waving is going to fix it.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #616 on: December 10, 2016, 01:43:20 pm »
You can pour in all the money you like, when you are out by several orders of magnitude on decent efficiency no amount of technical PhD hand waving is going to fix it.

Never say never. The level of computing we carry in our pockets these days would be consider physically impossible 200 years ago. Same goes for you talking in Sidney and we hear you in real time all over the world.

When we 'debunk' stuff, we need to remember to qualify it.
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Offline edy

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The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #617 on: December 10, 2016, 02:40:23 pm »
So if I am out to scam the media and a bunch of VC's of investment money, isn't some of the blame also on the people who are also not doing their due diligence to see if there is any merit to the company? Or is everyone blinded by raw greed? Yes Meredith may have done her bit to keep this unicorn alive but look at how our system rewarded this behaviour. Media with no objective reporting, paid ads and bait click to get people to click on this " miracle" technology, investors who have not done any homework to see if it is possible and whether it is even practical.

Like I said, Meredith probably did not know enough to maliciously single handedly defraud people. She was just naive and expected other people who are much smarter than her in the field to solve the problem (that isn't even a practical one to solve for this application at least). Just look at her twitter photos feed, she seems to be having the time of her life involved with all this fame and fortune, tied up in meeting after meeting raising money and probably lost total sight of the goal... She was focusing on inspirational talks to young people, appearances on shows, interviews, getting investors, and meanwhile waiting for her engineers back home to actually come up with something.

At the end of the day, if a few more rich greedy  investors lose their money then it's a lesson they learned. It means that the next time some ridiculous idea like this comes along, they might hire a few more independent experts to validate it before investing. Maybe they should consult the EEVBLOG community first and have Dave do a critical assessment early on in the development.

I have more of a problem with solar roadways which is using taxpayer money, Airing which is preying on crowd funding from a medically vulnerable population (sleep apnea) which could potentially kill people. At least batterizer seems to have died, the rational scientific debate won over the hyperbole train, but not before scamming a bunch of people. As bad as uBeam is, I can show you many more examples that are worse. Kind of a sad statement on the whole investment startup scene. Then again, these worst examples tend to get more attention so the may be many success stories we don't focus on.


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« Last Edit: December 10, 2016, 03:18:35 pm by edy »
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Online Fungus

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #618 on: December 10, 2016, 03:32:33 pm »
Never say never.

Never.

The level of computing we carry in our pockets these days would be consider physically impossible 200 years ago.

What? Electronic computers weren't even a figment of imagination 200 years ago.

When we 'debunk' stuff, we need to remember to qualify it.

Did you just arrive?

We qualified it! Vibrating air as a medium for power transmission doesn't work in anything like the requirements necessary to charge a cellphone. Not even close.

No possible future technology could vibrate air in a radically different way to the way we can vibrate air today. Focusing and phasing of air vibrations is a well studied discipline, it comes up short by many orders of magnitude for any receptor that would fit in a cellphone or any transmitter with a plausible power consumption.

The power levels needed would also be dangerous.
 

Offline zapta

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #619 on: December 10, 2016, 05:19:04 pm »
No possible future technology could vibrate air in a radically different way to the way we can vibrate air today.

Well, if you say so.
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Offline timb

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The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #620 on: December 10, 2016, 05:30:16 pm »
No possible future technology could vibrate air in a radically different way to the way we can vibrate air today.

Well, if you say so.

"Ya' can'ut change the laws of physics, Captain!" -Chief Engineer Scott

The only thing that would make ultrasonic power transfer viable is if we develop some sort of ultra low power smartphone based on some future 3D graphene bio-optical memristor nanotube processor that only used microwatts of power.

However, at that point you could power the whole thing with a tiny indoor amorphous solar cell (or even a passive RF energy harvesting system) anyway, so what would be the point?
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic; e.g., Cheez Whiz, Hot Dogs and RF.
 

Offline edy

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #621 on: December 10, 2016, 07:12:07 pm »
I've got a better invention, one that may actually work better than uBeam.... I call it uBlow!  :-DD   A few minutes manipulating some Googled images with GIMP on Ubuntu. Just add a large fan to any establishment.... Restaurant, Coffee Shop, Convention, Business Meeting....  and all of your wireless charging problems will be solved! Works with any and all existing smartphones. When everyone thought high-frequency air vibration was the answer, we have found that ultra-low frequency (in fact, no frequency at all) air movement is the secret breakthrough. Our Kickstart/Indie-Gogo crowd-funding campaign is ready to take your money.  CONTRIBUTE TODAY!

PS - Meredith, don't steal my idea! I plan on bringing this to the attention of a number of big venture capitalists, already scheduled a TED talk about innovation, and my technical paper is a back-of-the-coffee-house-napkin calculation showing exactly what kind of sustained wind speed is needed to sustain and charge my phone. My prototype can demonstrate a voltage being generated just by standing outside on a windy day! It has way more power coverage than uBeam, in fact it can get NATURAL ECO-FRIENDLY power just by standing outside, or sticking my phone out the window while I drive!



« Last Edit: December 10, 2016, 07:48:24 pm by edy »
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Offline zapta

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #622 on: December 10, 2016, 07:48:43 pm »
"Ya' can'ut change the laws of physics, Captain!" -Chief Engineer Scott

Yes we can and already did several times.

We have plenty of learning ahead of us and that's a good thing.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2016, 07:54:23 pm by zapta »
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Offline LabSpokane

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #623 on: December 10, 2016, 08:39:46 pm »
Physical laws are things that we *discover*.  The textbooks and scientific formulae change, the physics is the physics, and been so for quite some time. 
 
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Offline l0rd_hex

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Re: The uBeam FAQ
« Reply #624 on: December 10, 2016, 09:00:01 pm »
It was actually Lawrence of Arabia who said/did that.

Mmm I don't think he was in that movie, maybe you're thinking "Lawrence of Arabia" from 1962?

The legend goes back to this ole greek boy, Gaius Mucius Scaevola, I guess he did it to get off the hook for some accident assassinations.
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