Such obstacles may be why the startup announced on the investor call a shift from its plan to first build and sell wirelessly-charging cellphone cases.
The firm now intends to initially sell ultrasonic wireless-charging components as an original equipment manufacturer. Potential customers include telecommunication firms, auto makers and consumer electronics manufacturers, according to the presentation. The company also is considering a spin-off venture to sell its proprietary transducer technology for applications including geolocation, imaging and haptics.
Adapting the company’s technology for uses other than wireless charging has long been advocated within the company, Paul Reynolds, uBeam’s former vice president of engineering, transducers and acoustics, said in an emailed statement.
“It seems that having exhausted all other avenues, uBeam have finally realized that there are better markets for ultrasound transducers. It’s unfortunate they didn’t listen to their own departed engineers who told them this years ago,” he said. “If they can produce low cost, consistent, reliable transducers there is a commodity market there. However, they will have competition from more focused companies who have been diligently working in this space for longer, with existing products, and a much deeper patent portfolio.”
Reynolds published a blog in 2016 criticizing the company for overstating the performance of its technologies.
Perry told prospective investors that her company’s technology has been well received by potential business partners.
“UBeam has been declared the category winner with every single electronics company we’ve met with,” she said. “UBeam, even in its currently un-optimized state, as a prototype, can transmit more power, at greater distances, too more devices, while staying within regulatory limits, compared to any technology that exists.”
Perry later clarified when asked by a prospective investor how efficiently uBeam transferred energy.
“Our efficiency today is lower than we’d like it to be, but the theoretical efficiency of our system end-to-end is about 30 percent,” she said. “One of the things we will be working on is making our system as efficient as possible.”
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