Dr.Peter H. Diamandis is a Greek-American engineer, physician, and entrepreneur, founder and chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation, and the co-author of “Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think“.
Editor’s note: We receive e-mails from Dr. Diamandis on his activities, ideas, and information on various topics. For informational purposes we post certain of his e-mails.
I’m so sick of using cables to charge all my devices. Aren’t you?
Back in the early 1890’s, famed inventor Nikola Tesla (he’s the guy that really invented the alternating current) predicted that one day, electricity would be ubiquitous, wireless and free.
He called it “free energy” or “ambient power.”
Ambient power was the idea that you could transmit energy through the air, rather than through a metal wire, to any device within range.
Not only was the thought of wireless power considered ludicrous, but it was also considered useless.
Well, times have changed. Now we have some 2 billion smartphones; soon, we’ll have a trillion sensors needing power.
And Nikola Tesla was right.
Wireless power is right around the corner, and before I tell you about a specific, incredible company that will rock this world, let me briefly cover the recent past.
Wireless charging has been out there for some time, waiting for the right “interface moment” to make it brain-dead easy to adopt.
Over the past 5 years, there have been two main approaches:
- Magnetic Resonance Coupling is wireless transmission of electrical energy between two coils or receivers that are tuned to resonate at the same frequency. This would be useful for charging your electric car, as you could drive it into your garage and park directly over a set of large, prepositioned transmitters.
- Inductive Charging uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy between two objects. Recent commercial products include a “charging pad” from Qi and Powermat, but these too are limited and very location-dependent — basically impractical.
Something really, really cool, that I’m going to be sharing this January with my executive mastermind group Abundance 360. (Info on A360 here, if interested.)
When I was at Google Zeitgeist in September, I met a rockstar entrepreneur, Ms. Meredith Perry, the founder/CEO of a new company called uBeam.
Full disclosure: after meeting with Meredith and her team for an hour in Santa Monica, I am now a proud investor in the company.
uBeam transmits energy through the air using ultrasound, a frequency of sound that is high in energy and silent. Put simply, the transmitter converts electricity to sound, transmits the sound in a very directed fashion, and then the receiver on your phone converts it back to electricity.
Meredith had the idea after discovering a device called a piezoelectric transducer, which converts physical vibration or physical impact into electricity.
“Sound travels through the air by vibrating air particles, and we can use the same energy-harvesting material to capture the vibration of sound as we do with physical impact,” she explained at Google Zeitgeist. “And so I decided to use ultrasound because you can’t hear it, and the concept was born.”
Best yet, the uBeam charging stations can be thin (no more than 5 millimeters thick), and could be embedded into wallpaper or made into decorative art to beam electricity to devices. The technology is under development. “We’re going to get rid of wires, one way or another,” says Meredith, who adds that it’s a “technological inevitability.”
I think uBeam is the “user interface” revolution needed to bring Tesla’s vision of ambient power to life (and get rid of my damn cables!).
As it turns out, we can apply our 6D’s filter to wireless power as well, looking at the exponential impact.
- Digitized: You can think of uBeam’s version of ambient power as digitizing electricity, putting it on an exponential path.
- Deceptive: Remember the early days of wireless phones, when they were initially expensive, unreliable and scarce, but ultimately became the primary means of communications today? I’m predicting that digitized, wireless power will similarly grow deceptively to eventually change how we power our devices.
- Disruptive: How disruptive? Think about never having to plug your phone or laptop in again. Coffee shops, restaurants, bars, waiting rooms, stadiums, airports, cars, buses, trains, and airplanes will all be equipped with wireless power transmitters, offering your devices a continuous charge.
- Dematerialized: What will “dematerialize”? Wires and wall sockets. As well as your frustration at a low-battery signal.
- Demonetized: Beamed, on-demand power will change how we design everything, and will even reduce the cost of building construction.
- Democratized: Making power available to everyone, always, everywhere.
I will be following this closely as it develops.
If you’d like to learn more and join me in following companies like uBeam, I have put together a mastermind group of 250 CEOs, entrepreneurs, and executives focused on exponential technologies. Only a few spots remain. If you are interested, please apply here and my team will reach out to you if it’s a good fit.
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