With so many incredible advances in mobile technology, it can sometimes feel like progress in battery technology isn't exactly keeping up. While our mobile devices can do so much more today than simply make calls and send text messages, many of us often struggle to get through the day on a single battery charge when we make full use of our handset’s capabilities.
But development in battery technology is continuing across the globe, with vast resources being committed to researching breakthroughs in energy storage. In early April, we also reported on micro-battery research at the University of Illinois, which aims to develop batteries that are 30 times smaller than conventional units, but which charge 1000 times faster.
A few weeks ago, we also reported on tech that’s just coming to market, which allows users to charge their handset with a puddle of water and a small portable charging unit with a micro fuel cell. Right now, it’s pretty expensive, but as prices fall with time, it could make a huge difference to those in emerging markets where power supplies can be costly and unreliable, but where mobile devices are becoming increasingly important to individuals and local economies.
If you’re a regular Neowin reader, you’ll know how much we enjoy celebrating the achievements of young developers and innovators, such as in our regular reports on Microsoft’s Imagine Cup. So we’re delighted to report on a fantastic innovation by another young person, who has won the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award, for an extraordinary invention aimed at revolutionising battery technology for mobile devices.
18-year-old Eesha Khare, from Saratoga, California, won the award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2013, for a supercapacitor that she developed, which could enable handsets to be charged fully in under 30 seconds.
Eesha explained that her supercapacitor employs a special nano-structure which also enables the device to squeeze a lot of energy into a very small size and hold its charge efficiently for a long time. Even more impressive is that her creation can last for 10,000 charge cycles, compared with standard batteries which generally last only 1,000 full-charge cycles.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect is that the device can be bent and manipulated while still retaining its full electrochemical properties, offering incredible potential for future generations of flexible handsets and wearable computing devices.
Eesha won a $50,000 prize from Intel, which she says she’ll be putting towards college and future work on scientific advancements. We can’t wait to see what awesome stuff she comes up with next.