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商业 - 科技

她会是“下一个穆斯克”吗?

Daniel Roberts 2015年08月03日

提到她时,硅谷顶尖风投马克·安德森的态度就和提到尼古拉·特斯拉或埃隆·穆斯克一样,称他们是“哈利·波特魔法世界”的居民。

    批评者认为她正在追求一座海市蜃楼。然而对于雄心勃勃的uBeam共同创始人和首席执行官梅瑞迪斯·佩里来说,远程无线充电拥有光明的前景。

    马克·库班把它称作“价值无限的想法”。在甚至没有看到产品原型的情况下,他就进行了投资。知名投资人马克·安德森、肖恩·范宁和谢家华也加入了投资者的行列。仅仅与发明者交谈了15分钟以后,玛丽莎·梅耶尔就做出了投资决定。

    这个创意是,跨越房间给电子设备的电池充电,是的,不需要电线。这家公司叫uBeam,位于圣塔莫尼卡。其共同创始人兼首席执行官梅瑞迪斯·佩里是一位才华横溢,雄心勃勃,偶尔也气势逼人,年仅25岁的女性。

    在2011年一次会议上,佩里与公司另一名创始人诺拉·德怀克宣布了无线充电的概念,顿时吸引了全世界的目光。两个烤箱般大小,相距几英尺摆放的盒子,能够利用超声波发出少量电能。公众对此反响不一:科技博客TechCrunch的创始人迈克尔·阿灵顿将它称作“我见过的最接近魔法的东西”。一位物理学家则表示“这是天方夜谭”,会对身体造成损害。面对这一切,佩里始终没有推出一款商业产品,而是不断埋头苦干。

    2014年底,在获得1000万美元的投资之后,uBeam公司宣布产品原型已经完成。佩里表示:“也许网上会有人觉得这不是真的。”但那些现场见过它的人“会立刻改变想法”。(不过她拒绝向《财富》展示这一原型。)

    佩里坚称,总有一天,酒吧、图书馆和工业仓房中都能看到uBeam的身影。面对那些质疑,她感到很高兴,因为这意味着该领域几乎没有竞争。

    佩里出生于科学世家:父亲是一位整形外科医生,研制过一系列化妆品;母亲则是一位儿童心理学家。她则延续了这一传承。上小学三年级时,她发明了带有照明功能的老花眼镜。四年级时,她发明了可以搬运木材的机器人。五年级时,她培养了取自她嘴里和一只狗嘴里的细菌,来研究到底谁的嘴更干净。

    如今,佩里总是口若悬河。她滔滔不绝地说着,却记不起前一天她做了什么。她郁闷地表示:“我的记忆出了点问题。”uBeam一心要证明批评者是错的,所以她开了太多的会,难免记忆出现差错。

    亲身见证uBeam的技术之后,安德森表示,那些怀疑论调“完全是杞人忧天”。

    “面世后,它将被所有市场热烈追捧。”(财富中文网)

    译者:严匡正

    审校:任文科

    Her critics say she’s pursuing an impossible idea. But for Meredith Perry, the ambitious co-founder and CEO of uBeam, wireless charging at a distance is the real deal.

    Mark Cuban calls it a “zillion-dollar idea.” He invested without ever seeing a prototype. Marc Andreessen, Shawn Fanning, and Tony Hsieh invested too. Marissa Mayer chose to invest after spending 15 minutes with the inventor.

    The idea? Charge the battery of an electronic device from across the room—no wires necessary. The company is uBeam, based in Santa Monica. And the 25-year-old woman behind it all is Meredith Perry, its brilliant, ambitious, and occasionally overwhelming co-founder and CEO.

    Perry grabbed the world’s attention after demonstrating the concept with co-founder Nora Dweck at a conference in 2011. Using ultrasound waves, the pair beamed a small amount of power between two toaster-size boxes positioned a few feet apart. Reaction was mixed: TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington called it “the closest thing to magic I’ve seen.” A physicist wrote that “it’s an impossible idea” that would cause bodily harm. Through it all, Perry tinkered without producing a commercial product.

    In late 2014, uBeam—flush after raising $10 million from investors—announced that it had finalized a working prototype. “There may be people on the Internet who don’t believe it’s true,” Perry says. But those who see it “are converted instantly.” (She declined to show the prototype to Fortune.)

    One day, Perry insists, uBeam will be in bars, libraries, and industrial warehouses. Doubts about the concept make her happy because it means there is little competition.

    Perry, who comes from a family of scientists—her father is a plastic surgeon who developed a line of cosmetics; her mother is a child psychologist—continues the tradition. In the third grade she invented a pair of reading glasses with lightbulbs on them. In the fourth grade she developed a robot to carry firewood. In the fifth grade she cultured bacteria from her mouth and a dog’s to see which was cleaner.

    Today, Perry buzzes with blinding frequency. She talks a mile a minute and has difficulty remembering what she did the day before. “I have the memory of a gnat,” she laments, a product of her many meetings as uBeam works to prove critics wrong.

    Andreessen, who has seen uBeam’s technology firsthand, calls the skepticism “highly unfounded.”

    “This will be the mother of all markets when it comes together.”

    加利福尼亚州圣塔莫尼卡。在uBeam办公室内拍摄的无线充电系统概念原型图。

    

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