wireless charging battery ubeam
uBeam charger could result in smaller smartphone batteries as device is "always charging".CC

A new type of charging technology that utilises ultrasound to power devices from a distance has been developed into a fully functional prototype.

California-based start-up uBeam announced that it now plans to build the wireless charging system for consumers.

The technology was first developed by Meredith Perry, 25, as part of an innovation competition when she was studying at the University of Pennsylvania.

It works by taking electricity and converting it into audio that is then transmitted through the air via ultrasound. A receiver on the device then converts the sound back to electricity for charging the battery.

"This is the only wireless power system that allows you to be on your phone and moving around a room freely while your device is charging," Perry told the New York Times.

"It allows for a Wi-Fi-like experience of charging; with everything else you have to be in close range of a transmitter."

Current wireless charging technologies involve the device touching the charging station and are ineffective from any distance.

Perry hopes to sell the charging system to restaurant chains and hotels in order to "saturate the market" and make the technology as ubiquitous as WiFi.

"If wireless power is everywhere, then the size of your battery can shrink because it's always charging," Perry said. "You'll never need a cord again, and you won't need international charging adapters."

uBeam is in the process of filing 18 patents for the technology and is securing a Series A round of financing to boost the $1.7m (£1m) already received.