Current wireless charging tech may not require a plug, but you still need to rest your device on or near a charging mat. That may soon change with the introduction of ultrasound-based charging.
uBeam’s technology converts electricity into sound and sends the ultrasound signal into the air, while a receiver connected to (or perhaps eventually built into) your phone, tablet, or other device interprets that signal, converts it back to electricity, and thus charges the gadget.
According to the company, you can move freely about a room and continue charging, which holds true even if your phone is in a bag or pocket. The signal won’t penetrate walls, however, so you’d need one for each room you intend to charge a device in. Luckily, the finished products could look like decorative panels on a wall, measuring less than 5 millimeters thick.
uBeam tells the New York Times that it will make the technology available to consumers within the next two years, but that it will also make larger versions that businesses, airports, restaurants, hotels, venues, and other locations can use to appease their customers and perhaps lure in passers-by with low battery charges.
The photo shown atop the Times’ piece depicts an iPhone with a special charging case attached that houses the receiver panel; we imagine most devices would need such a thing to utilize the tech, and if it really catches on, perhaps device makers will look to incorporate the functionality thereafter.
The company also says it has a way of transferring secure data through its panels, which could be of benefit to connected home-style devices. Both sound like bright ideas, though widespread adoption may determine their eventual true worth in the world.