Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Markets in Everything: Wireless Charging Systems

"It's like Wi-Fi for energy."

"There are two components to the uBeam charge system: the uBeam Charge Station, which plugs into the wall and emits energy, and the uBeam Battery Adapter, which plugs into your electronics and absorbs energy. The uBeam Battery Adapter consists of a conglomeration of energy harvesting transducers connected to a rechargeable battery, where the beamed energy is stored. Once the uBeam Battery Adapter is plugged into your electronics, it will start charging your device. With a USB adapter on one side of the battery, and a PC or Mac power adapter on the other- uBeam can charge many portable electronics simultaneously."

Featured today on NPR


At 8/23/2011 10:08 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

what's the loss ratio?

this is cool, but somehow i doubt it's terribly efficient.

most of the power you broadcast is going to be lost even before you hit the transducers.

At 8/23/2011 10:43 AM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

Some day you may park your car at home, and even without plugging it in, it will charge up.

At 8/23/2011 10:52 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Some day you may park your car at home, and even without plugging it in, it will charge up."

yeah, at 50x the electricity price you'd pay if you did.

At 8/23/2011 11:06 AM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

Not really. You would have to park over a plate in your garage.

At 8/23/2011 11:12 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

yeah, and do you have any idea what the efficiency loss from that sort of transmission is?

it's not directional for a start. only 10% of what it puts out is even going to hit the transducers if everyhting is absolutely perfect. (and i'm being very generous with that assumption)

then you have the loss in transit.

then you have the transducer efficiency issues.

no way are you going to get more than 2% efficiency out of that system.

physical laws are called "laws" for a reason.

At 8/23/2011 11:22 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

The uBeam seems like an elegantly simple idea, but as morganovich has pointed out the power loss in transmission could be significant.

Apple has patent app filed 17 Nov 09 that promises very little power loss. It is based on "the efficient transfer of power" by near field magnetic resonance (NFMR).

Apple's iBeam (my name) will create a "virtual charging area of one (1) meter". The uBeam will charge up to seven meters -- twenty one feet vs. three feet.

At 8/23/2011 12:13 PM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

There are ways to transfer power by microwave without too much power loss. There is resistance in wires too.

I am surprised that Morgan, in command of the best Flying Saucers in the fleet, is not more aware of these advances.

At 8/23/2011 12:16 PM, Blogger Benjamin Cole said...

Power transmission via radio waves can be made more directional, allowing longer distance power beaming, with shorter wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, typically in the microwave range. A rectenna may be used to convert the microwave energy back into electricity. Rectenna conversion efficiencies exceeding 95% have been realized. Power beaming using microwaves has been proposed for the transmission of energy from orbiting solar power satellites to Earth and the beaming of power to spacecraft leaving orbit has been considered.[2][30]

At 8/23/2011 1:14 PM, Blogger morganovich said...


you are just making stuff up, now as ever.

microwave has nothing to do with this.

this is not a focused, directional signal.

it's transducer based.

at least you are consistent.

your knowledge of science is as bad as your knowledge of economics.

citing a wikipedia article about "what has been proposed for space" is hilarious.

you can get efficiency in a lab, but you know what happens to microwaves when they hit a cloud or even just humid air?

At 8/23/2011 1:20 PM, Blogger morganovich said...


it's a volume problem.

if you put out power into a 6 meter sphere, it goes everyhwere.

a 6 meter sphere has a volume of 216 cubic meters.

put even a big battery into it (say 100cc) and you are looking at .05% of the volume.

even with 100% transfer, you are wasting essentially all the power.

these things can only work at VERY short range with acceptable efficiency. the contact charging pads are still not very efficient. give them even a 1 meter range, and you lose easily 1 and probably 2 orders of magnitude on efficiency.

At 8/23/2011 2:27 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

moganovich, please note that the Broadcast Energy Transmitter has been "in use" since 1987, to provide energy to various electrically powered vehicles. :>)

At 8/23/2011 2:35 PM, Blogger morganovich said...


i always wondered what voltron ran on...

At 8/23/2011 5:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eh, seems like a technology in search of a use, like morganovich says. You still have to plug something into your gadget, which is the biggest thing people complain about, not the wires, which are mostly out of the way. And the gadgets will never come with this tech built in, because it's too inefficient to be in widespread use. At best, if it gets cheap enough, maybe they'll start throwing it in as a backup way to get some power before a mobile device goes dead.

At 8/23/2011 7:31 PM, Blogger Mike said...


I agreed with you about that....but then I started thinking about how nice it would be to have a laptop that you never had to tie to a wall. Then I thought about all the people who no longer have land lines. When my phone is almost dead and somebody calls when it's plugged in, I feel like I'm on a leash.
I think IPad users would probably fit in there....

At 8/24/2011 8:09 AM, Blogger morganovich said...


when you realized you were paying as much per month on the electric bill to run the system as you were for cell phone service, you might change your mind a bit.

At 8/24/2011 12:48 PM, Blogger Mike said...


I don't know how in the hell you know so much about...well....everything. You must be frustrating to live with. My wife is driven crazy by my parade raining and, comparatively, I'm a complete idiot.

I have absolutely no idea how efficient/inefficient this would be.


Post a Comment

<< Home