New Mobile Phone Charging Methods Lurk on the Horizon

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2014-08-18 Print this article Print
New smartphone charging methods

uBeam recently announced that it has developed a fully functional prototype that it plans to use to create and sell working products for consumers, according to a recent report by The New York Times.

One of the inventors of uBeam, Meredith Perry, 25, originally began her career studying astrobiology at the University of Pennsylvania with a goal of looking for life on other planets, The Times reported. "Instead, Ms. Perry accidentally stumbled upon something even more exciting: the ability to charge portable electronics, like cell phones and laptops, wirelessly using ultrasound."

The technology "can take electricity, convert it into sound and send that audio through the air over ultrasound," according to the report. "Then a receiver attached to a portable electronic device catches the sound and converts it back into electricity."

Perry told The Times that the uBeam products are expected to be on store shelves within the next two years.

Others have tried to do similar things with no-cord charging for devices such as smartphones and tablets.

In June, Microsoft announced that it is teaming up with a clothing designer to produce pants that can wirelessly charge smartphones, eWEEK reported at the time. The company is collaborating with British designer A. Sauvage to create the world's first wireless charging trousers, using inductive charging technology from the Nokia DC-50, a device that tops off compatible Lumia smartphones using the Qi wireless charging standard.

Microsoft acquired Nokia's hardware unit for $7 billion in a deal that closed nearly eight months after it was first announced in September 2013. There is no need to fumble with wires and plug a Nokia Lumia 930 Windows Phone into a power outlet, for example. A user can charge the device by simply placing it on the DC-50. A built-in 2,400mAh battery provides power while on the go.

In February, vendor Humavox announced another approach to wireless charging that uses radio frequencies to transfer energy instead of data, according to an eWEEK report.


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