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Logo used from 2014 to 2018
|Privately held company|
|Founded||2012 in New York, New York United States|
|Meredith Perry, Dr. Matthew O'Donnell, Dr. Martine Rothblatt, Chuck Davis, Ken Hertz, Mark Suster|
|Products||Wireless Power, Ultrasonic Transceivers, Ultrasonic Sensors|
SonicEnergy was founded in 2011 by Meredith Perry while she was a student at the University of Pennsylvania for the school's invention competition, deemed "PennVention". SonicEnergy won PennVention in April 2011 and demonstrated the first prototype of the technology at The Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital Conference, D9 in May 2011.
SonicEnergy has received $26 million in investment from venture capitalists and investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Upfront Ventures, Founders Fund as well as billionaire Mark Cuban and former Yahoo! Inc. Chief Executive Marissa Mayer. Axios reported that SonicEnergy privately demonstrated a working prototype of the technology at the Upfront Summit on February 2, 2017. SonicEnergy publicly demonstrated wirelessly charging several iPhone 7s, Samsung Galaxy S7's, and LEDs simultaneously to USA Today, which was published on the front page of the newspaper on June 1, 2017.
By 2016, all of SonicEnergy's original engineering team had left the company, with some engineers leaving before their stocks had vested.
In September 2018, Meredith Perry stepped down from her role as CEO as the company changed to a business-to-business model, and was replaced by Jacqueline McCauley. In January 2019, McCauley was replaced by Simon McElrea as CEO and then in December of the same year Will Kain replaced McElrea as acting CEO. In the same announcement, the name of the company was changed from uBeam to SonicEnergy.
In November 2015, the company released technical specifications for its proposed system. SonicEnergy's system would transmit ultrasound at frequencies between 45 kHz - 75 kHz, with a sound intensity of 145 dB to 155 dB SPL, and it would use a phased array technique to direct the beam.
Some observers have been critical of the company's ultrasound technology, stating that SonicEnergy's claims are unlikely to be achievable. Critics have also cited problems such as the difficulty of achieving high efficiency in sound transfer, of achieving an unobstructed path for the beam, and the high absorption of high frequency ultrasound in air.
The Australian electrical engineer Dave Jones has been a frequent critic of SonicEnergy, stating it "will NEVER be a practical solution", and has offered detailed explanations on why "it will never work"
Dr. Daniel Rogers, Professor at New York University published a paper, including calculations, stating "IT'S AN IMPOSSIBLE IDEA", and further stating: "crazy ideas that are physically impossible are raising huge sums and getting tons of traction on nothing but dishonest PR".
Ultrasound has less potential to damage tissue than ionising radiation; however ultrasound energy has the potential to produce biological effects on the body. Ultrasound waves can heat the tissues slightly. In some cases, it can also produce small pockets of gas in body fluids or tissues (cavitation). The dose response relation between occupational exposure to very high frequency noise and resultant hearing risk is unknown.
The company claims that the beam will cut out automatically if it is intercepted by objects other than the receiver.
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