ITA Spotlight: Alberto Peralta, Principal Engineer, NuCurrent
Monday, June 15, 2020
Posted by: Abbey Kwiat
Alberto Peralta, Principal Engineer, NuCurrent
How did you come to work with NuCurrent?
When I was about to graduate from Purdue University I had three offers. One was in Minnesota, the other was in Indiana, and the last was NuCurent. The first two opportunities were well-established corporations, where if I kept my head down and did my job right, my future would be secure. Then there was NuCurrent, where these two guys (the founders) needed their first employee. I thought it was a great time to take the risk and take the lead with a new technology.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
My professor of power electronics, Maryam Saeedifard. At the time, I was between power electronics & signal processing, and I wasn’t sure which direction I should go. She encouraged me to continue on power electronics and considered that wireless charging would be good for this. I was very happy I took her advice - she’s the best.
What is the coolest thing you’ve developed or project you’ve worked on?
The coolest projects are the ones that are truly impactful, and are for the common good of helping people. For one project, we’re creating wireless charging for neurostimulation pain relief. A previous project was wirelessly powered self-tying shoes; That product could help elderly people or diabetic people with swollen feet. The projects that have meaning beyond the technology or commodity are exciting for me.
What do you like most about what you do?
The challenges. I get excited with a challenge that seems unsurmountable. Our team works together to create something that we couldn’t possibly do by ourselves.That synergy is exciting too. NuCurrent is about working really hard, and then sitting back and looking at it and feeling proud and fulfilled. Like the thrill of getting to the top of the mountain
Which achievement at NuCurrent are you most proud of?
There are so many things. At the beginning it was like a blank canvas. After several years, we got to a point where we could create full inductive charging systems from the ground up by NuCurrent. Seeing junior engineers applying what we’ve discovered and using it for new projects is something that makes me proud. It’s something that we worked really hard on.
Dead or alive, if you could have a dinner party with three famous and influential figures, who would they be and why?
● Nikola Tesla, he’s the founder of wireless power.
● Gabriel Garcias Marquez, he’s Colombian and I’ve probably read all of his work.
● Juan Gabriel, he’s the most incredible Mexican singer.
What did you want to be when you were in kindergarten?
A musician. I got into music school, when I was four or five years old. And I just remember that I would prefer to be at the music academy more than my house. It was a perfect place for a little kid - because all of the instruments I wanted to play were there.
How many patents are you attributed to?
It’s over 70 internationally and over 50 in the U.S. Patents are a way of demonstrating explicit innovation and at a certain point it becomes a metric. They are all in a sense something to be proud of - some more than others. We work together as a team to develop wireless power solutions that need innovation. Most client projects we get into you think: How the hell are we gonna do this? But then, we do.
You were employee #1 at a company right out of college. What was that like?
I did have doubts in the beginning. My first day was unpacking boxes to set up a lab by myself. But, you know, you can either say “I’m out” or “Ok, let’s try to make this work.” I’m proud I chose the latter. There was so much research and failed attempts. It was a lot of work, and if we weren’t doing it right, we were still doing our best.
It’s 2020, how do you think humans should start prioritizing technology and what problems it can solve?
Technology companies need to think of what’s morally responsible and acknowledge the impact they have on people’s lives.