A new age of power

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A note from our founder

How it works Safety Why Ultrasound?

uBeam: A World Without Wires

Santa Monica, CA | October 8th, 2015

Dear uBeam community,

Today we are sharing a bit more information on what we are working on. We have a lofty goal - a world without wires. A world where you could simply lift your phone in the air to charge it without needing to plug it in, no less be next to a power outlet. Imagine being able to go to an airport or a conference and not have to be tethered to the wall when your phone dies. A world in which every electronic device - hearing aids, tablets, sensors, light bulbs, computers, flat screen TVs - could be powered simultaneously with one simple device.

True over-distance wireless power. The holy grail. Since Nikola Tesla's first experiments with wireless power in the late 1800s, no one has been able to successfully crack the code on how to commercialize safe over-distance wireless power that's practical in today's society. Until uBeam.

There are many ways to transmit energy wirelessly. All types of energy, such as electromagnetic radiation in the form of radio waves, microwaves, light waves, or X-rays, can be transmitted through the air and converted into electrical ("usable") energy to power or charge electronic devices. The key to uBeam is that it doesn't transmit electromagnetic radiation. uBeam relies on the transmission of safe sound energy.

Ultrasonic energy (energy from ultrasound) is the only type of energy that can safely and reliably transmit energy wirelessly; thus it's the only type of energy that can be used for over-distance wireless power transmission.

With the invention of a novel ultrasonic transducer and the most complex acoustic phased array transmitter ever built, uBeam has developed the world's most powerful, safe, and intelligent true over-distance commercial wireless power system for consumer electronics.

uBeam's technology outperforms every other possible wireless power system in every category (power, distance, form factor, safety, regulatory, etc), with a team of just under 20 world-class engineers and business leaders, 30 filed patents covering the entire ultrasonic wireless power space, and funding from the top investors in the world, uBeam is poised to revolutionize the electronics industry.

The impact uBeam will have across industries will be profound: batteries will become smaller, devices will become lighter and thinner, and wires will be virtually eliminated. Beyond power, uBeam has figured out how to transmit data through sound, which will be far reaching. Imagine the possibilities of a device that can both power devices and communicate with them simultaneously.

Naturally, when a new technology comes out, many people fear it and make prejudicial assumptions out of fright rather than based on fact. This is completely natural, so relax and let's take a little walk through history...

Whether it was the Telephone "causing diseases" in 1889...

Or electricity causing "overelectrification of the nerves", in the 1920s:

Or Microwaves destroying hamsters and leaking radiation in the 1970s...

...Trains that move too fast that cause nausea, airplanes couldn't possibly defy gravity, the list goes on. Throughout history, we've feared new technology because it's foreign to us and we don't understand it. We want you to understand uBeam.

uBeam. The Physics is Sound™

First, let's get some facts straight...

What is sound?

Sound is vibration of the air (or other media). Sound waves enter the ear canal and vibrate the eardrum, causing signals to travel from the inner ear and then to the brain. The brain translates this "noise" into information. The rate at which sound vibrates molecules back and forth is described as cycles per second, or hertz (Hz). Humans hear sounds that move back and forth through a space 20 to 20,000 times per second - this is described as 20,000 Hz (or 20 kHz).

What is ultrasound?

The range of human hearing is between 20 Hz and 20 kHz; sound below 20 Hz (called infrasound) and sound above 20 kHz (called ultrasound) cannot be detected by human ears. Thus, ultrasound waves are sound waves with frequencies higher than the upper limit of human hearing.

uBeam is an ultrasound wireless power delivery system designed to safely charge mobile devices. Our team is comprised of the world's leading experts in ultrasound and electronics, with decades of experience in all aspects of the system. The technology, the product's safety, and how the system impacts the surrounding world have been extensively studied. Like all technology companies in the product development process, with critical intellectual property, at this time, we cannot release our full technical specifications to the public. However, we'll give you a little taste of how our system works and why it's safe, and as we approach product release we will provide more system specifications to your heart's delight.

How it works

The uBeam system is composed of two parts: a transmitter that emits energy, and a receiver that receives energy. The transmitter is like a sound speaker, but instead of emitting audible sound, uBeam's transmitter emits high frequency sound. This sound can't be heard by humans or dogs; it's called ultrasound. The receiver, like a microphone, picks up the sound and converts it into usable energy. Sound, like light and wind, is a form of energy that can be converted into electrical energy with our proprietary energy harvesting technology. The receiver then sends this electrical power to charge or power an electronic device.

Today, ultrasound technology is not designed for power transmission. Ultrasonic transducers are designed for medical imaging, distance measurement, and industrial cleaning. In order to make wireless power transmission via ultrasound commercially viable, uBeam engineered several incredibly difficult (but not impossible) things:

• We invented a novel high-powered ultrasonic transducer.
• We developed the thinnest, most powerful, most complex, and most intelligent ultrasonic transmitter in the world.
• We developed a highly secure ultrasonic data transmission system.
• We developed a receiver that could efficiently convert airborne ultrasound into usable power.

uBeam's multiple inventions have enabled the world's most powerful, safe, and intelligent true over-distance commercial wireless power system for consumer electronics.


Ultrasound has been used safely for 100 years. It has been used in medicine since the 1940s. Its use in obstetrics began to increase in the 1960s. Ultrasound is considered safe for humans and wildlife and is employed routinely in the examination of developing fetuses. Fetuses are the most vulnerable organisms to injury, and the safety of ultrasound is in stark contrast to the absolute danger of ionizing radiation such as x-rays in examining developing fetuses.

The safety of ultrasound has been examined for over 30 years and various occupational medicine scientific studies have failed to identify dangers of either industrial or medical ultrasound.

The most recent paper to investigate the safety of ultrasound was just published in the January 2016 issue of Ultrasonics. In this paper, ultrasound energy was delivered to pig tissue to charge a device under the skin. The pigs were subjected to repeated charging of high intensity over 5 weeks and then the tissue that was subjected to the ultrasound was looked at under the microscope. There was no injury to the tissue, indicating that the ultrasound energy was safe. Of note is that this study used energy levels to tissue that were orders of magnitude higher than levels that uBeam’s system uses. uBeam is designed to charge devices outside of the human body and this type of ultrasound would not be expected to penetrate skin. This particular study supports that, even if the uBeam could penetrate skin, there would be no injury.

Ultrasound in the very high frequencies (Megahertz, or MHz, 1000x higher frequency than kHz) is widely used in the medical field, and is the most common medical imaging modality used in almost all specialties due to its versatility and safety. In fact, nearly everyone under the age of 50 in the United States was imaged in-utero by ultrasound, and it is considered a routine and standard procedure. It’s a commonly used diagnostic tool by radiologists and sonographers to image the human body and has been safely used in human and animal interactive practice for over 50 years.

Ultrasound has been studied extensively for decades due to its use in medical imaging, and, unlike X-rays, there is no issue with a cumulative effect. There is no risk of prolonged exposure to the uBeam system. uBeam emits targeted, focused power directly to receivers that are actively requesting power, and power delivery ceases immediately once that request stops. Because uBeam’s system functions only in the “line of sight”, devices obscured by solid objects will not have power beamed to them. Humans in the uBeam environment aren’t subjected to random acoustic power beams.

Dr. Michael Roizen, former Dean of the School of Medicine and Vice President for Biomedical Sciences at SUNY, Chair of a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee, and editor for six medical journals, Chair of the Anesthesiology Institute at Cleveland Clinic, Chief Wellness Officer at Cleveland Clinic, and Chairman of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic gave us his input on uBeam’s wireless power system:

"We use ultrasound to image the heart, and it's tough to get good pictures with the energy we use. It [the ultrasonic energy] doesn't heat the tissue. To my knowledge, the energy band of uBeam's ultrasound is as likely to do damage to humans and wildlife as the Browns are to go undefeated, and they've already lost a few games!"

-Michael Roizen, MD

Many studies have been conducted investigating the effects and limits of audible sound on human hearing, but none have shown any scientific evidence of negative effect to humans or pets in the uBeam frequency range. There are no studies that show any issues of long term exposure to airborne ultrasound in the uBeam frequency range, despite many years of human exposure to existing ultrasound sources in the environment such as car reverse sensors, directional loudspeakers and fluorescent lighting.

While we cannot reveal the acoustic intensities involved, the air coupled ultrasound method used by uBeam cannot, even if focused directly on a person for a continuous period, cause any noticeable heating. It would simply be defying the basic laws of physics to do so. If anyone has any scientific peer reviewed evidence to the contrary, we would be very interested to read and would be happy to respond!

What if someone were to stand DIRECTLY in front of the beam?

uBeam's ultrasound energy will not beam to the skin, and the power levels beamed are more than 50 times lower than the lowest ultrasound imaging exposure limits set by the FDA for medical imaging, making the system inherently safe and within all existing regulatory constraints.

Ultrasound is classified as "non-ionizing radiation," meaning it does not have any of the properties of "ionizing radiation," such as X-rays. Unlike ionizing radiation, ultrasound waves do not cause cancer, radiation sickness or other genetic damage. When transmitted through air, uBeam cannot penetrate solid materials like skin. That's very different from ionizing radiation like X-rays, UV rays, and Gamma Rays, which can cause free radicals leading to cellular radiation.

Unlike radio frequency emissions, ultrasound decays rapidly in the air. This creates a safe and containable system, ensuring that no power is sent beyond the set range of transmitter. uBeam is the only wireless power technology that can be used in an aircraft, car or hospital because it does not interfere with any existing communication systems or electronics.

uBeam's system is smart.

Real Smart, meaning the ultrasound waves are only sent to and received by uBeam designated receivers (in this instance, the phone case that will be available at launch). Ultrasound can't be emitted unless there is a uBeam receiver within range of the transmitter that is requesting power. If a person or other material comes between the uBeam transmitter and receiver, the system will stop emitting ultrasound.

Our system is set up such that humans and pets will not be exposed to the ultrasound, but we went a step further. If a person were to be exposed to the uBeam ultrasound source, 99.9% percent of the emitted ultrasound will bounce off the skin, which is the same occurrence as with fluorescent lights and rear parking sensors and other ultrasonic devices around us every day. For comparison, with medical imaging, most of the ultrasonic energy is absorbed by the body.

uBeam operates at such a high frequency that even animals, such as dogs, are not sensitive to its transmission. Animals hear at different ranges, but uBeam's frequency is too high for dogs and most mammals. Even if an animal could perceive the frequency of sound emitted by uBeam, the uBeam system power drops exponentially outside the narrowly focused emitted beams, making the sound effectively inaudible.

As for animals, only bats, cats, whales, and a few other animals could possibly detect the ultrasound that uBeam creates. We love aquatic animals but it is unlikely that uBeam would be used in the water! As for bats, these animals would hear uBeam only if it were used outside. Because uBeam uses "locked on" directional focused beams, only animals that carried a uBeam receiver would be able to "hear" the uBeam. uBeam's system will not affect pets or animals.

We've reached out to one of the world's foremost experts on bats, chiroptologist Rob Mies, the Executive Director of the Organization for Bat Conservation and Wildlife Ambassador for the National Wildlife Federation. Rob confirmed for us uBeam is completely safe for wildlife:

"uBeam's ultrasound shouldn't be an issue for bats. Even if bats were exposed to the ultrasound, bats can cope with a variety of frequencies of sound and most likely won't be bothered by it. Even if you pointed uBeam's ultrasound directly at a bat, not only will the intensity of the sound be very low given the drop-off rate of ultrasonic power, the bat might even be interested in it - and the bat definitely won't die from it! They're curious animals.

There are ultrasonic devices that are sold to "deter" bats and wildlife away, and these devices simply do not work. People have been trying to drive bats out of buildings for decades with ultrasonic devices and it doesn't work. It's terrible that companies sell these devices because they're ripping people off." (Turns out that the FDA pronouncements have shut down the efficacy of these products).

- Rob Mies
Executive Director of the Organization for Bat Conservation, Wildlife Ambassador for the National Wildlife Federation, President of the Midwest Bat Working Group, Bat Zone Director of the Midwest Bat Working Group, Author of "Understanding Bats & Beginners Guide to Bats", and former Ecology lecturer at Eastern Michigan University

The common misperception of uBeam is that the system broadcasts sound out radially, like a speaker or a light-bulb, sending power in all directions simultaneously and continuously. This is not the case; uBeam's system locates and sends focused power directly to a requesting uBeam receiver such as a phone case. Without active request, there is no power transfer, and no ultrasound in the environment. The system is also designed to work most effectively in room sized areas, and ultrasound levels decay very rapidly beyond a few meters, and do not penetrate walls, doors, or windows.

Ultrasound is used in many technologies that surround us every day.

The uBeam frequency range is significantly beyond that of human hearing, and also operates at a frequency and power level broadly similar to that of other commercial systems such as Holosonic's "Audio Spotlight", which has operated in public areas for many years without incident. Unlike uBeam, the Audio Spotlight is a broadcast and non-targeted system that floods the areas where people and pets are likely to be.

In gadgets: Most people don't realize this, but ultrasound is all around us in our day-to-day lives in car parking sensors, fluorescent lighting, directional speakers, automatic door sensors, and alarm systems.

uBeam complies with all regulatory bodies.

uBeam has consulted with leading regulatory legal authorities and determined that, beyond the standard regulatory issues consumer electronics require (FCC, UL, etc.), we comply with the other current government regulatory requirements. The effect from uBeam on the human body is significantly below the FDA's own limits.

Over the last two years, as part of the extensive due diligence of our investors, we have employed third party ultrasound and safety regulation experts to investigate the uBeam system for both performance and safety. They were fully satisfied that uBeam exceeds all safety and regulatory requirements.


The "holy grail" experience of true wireless power is one where multiple devices can simply charge in the air as they're moving and as they're being used. It's like the experience of Wi-Fi, but for power. In order to achieve this type of experience, you need a system that can achieve the following - simultaneously:

Transmit large amounts of power safely
(> 1 watt per phone)...

over large distance...

while staying within regulatory limits
(FCC, FDA, OSHA, etc.)...

while not interfering with any of our current communications or electronics systems...

with a system that can simultaneously charge multiple moving electronic devices while in use...

and with transmitters that aren't impractically large (would you want a transmitter the size of a refrigerator just to be able to charge your phone?), and receivers that aren't larger than the device being charged.

Ultrasound is simply the only type of energy that checks all these boxes simultaneously.

What else is out there? Let's take a look at the electromagnetic spectrum

Everything to the right of visible light (UV, X-ray, Gamma) is dangerous/unsafe, and everything on the left side of the spectrum is either inefficient (infrared) or too tightly regulated by the government in terms of how much power can be sent (RF and microwave) for both communications and safety reasons. RF and microwaves also both require impractically large transmitters and receivers to send power over distances greater than a meter.

That leaves us with 3 other types of potentially useful energy:

1) Induction
2) Magnetic resonance coupling
3) Sound

Induction requires contact between the receiver and transmitter, making the user experience actually more constricting than a wire.

Magnetic resonance coupling can send enormous amounts of power over distance, but require gigantic transmitters and receivers, making the technology only commercially practical for powering really large devices over short distance (i.e. electric cars).

Through process of logical deduction, acoustic energy is the only type of energy that can be used for over-distance wireless power transmission. Since uBeam owns the entire ultrasonic wireless power space from an IP perspective, the world will have to leverage uBeam’s technology.

Welcome to 100%

For more information:

A study on the effectiveness of Ultrasonic Sound Emitters

Safety Assurance in Obstetrical Ultrasound

Email us at info@ubeam.com

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