Don’t Say I Beam—Say uBeam
Last time I forgot to pack my laptop charger, I bought a new battery to last me through the day; when Meredith Perry forgot her laptop charger she invented a wireless charging system, and now several investors are trying to upstage each other to provide her with the money to finance her company uBeam which would manufacture wireless charging devices. Meredith is only 22, and funny that she is not even an electrical engineer! She is, what you call—self-taught, who did her research mostly online, and used Wikipedia.
Meredith, however, is anything but a typical 22-yr old. Her father Arthur Perry warns she pursues her interests with an intense ‘nerdlike focus’. Even as a child she wanted to invent things such as an umbrella that you could use while biking. Talking about the zeal of her daughter, the senior Perry said, at the age 8 she liked reading a book by Louis Sachar. “She loved it so much, she somehow found out his phone number, called him up and actually spoke to him on the phone,” he added.
Meredith Perry began where Nicola Tesla left off. Tesla, who took the light out of Thomas Edison’s world of direct current with his invention of alternating current, was working on wireless transfer of electrical energy before his death. Such was the brilliance of Tesla, that in nearly a hundred years no one ever tried to replicate his research - until electrical cars became mainstream.
Several parallel researchers have now made Nicola Tesla’s dream come true, and prototype cell phone battery chargers are already in the market. What differentiates Perry from others is that she patented a method in which ultrasonic waves are used to vibrate piezocrystals, generating electricity.
No one has used this technique before, and Perry has successfully demonstrated it working, to win an invention competition at the University of Pennsylvania. Walt Mossberg, a technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal was impressed with the display and asked Perry to present at All Things Digital, a highly rated technology conference run by him. Things took wings from there.Continued on the next page