March 26, 2011 00:55 by Jeremy
What happens when you combine the energy storage of a battery with the charging rate of a capacitor? Hopefully, you'll get something like what Professor Paul Braun of Illinois has developed.
Braun (middle), along with postdoctoral researcher Huigang Zhang (right) and graduate student Xindi Yu (left), has developed a three-dimensional nanostructure for battery cathodes which allows for drastically increased charging and discharging, without losing overall capacity.
The downside is that the process of assmebling the inner parts is time-consuming; however, research can be easily picked up and continued since the processes are not limited to a particular type of battery. The group has already demonstrated usage in both Li-Ion and NiMH versions.
These types of batteries could be especially useful in electric vehicles. If research is continued in this field, it could be another candidate for future use, which would eventually mean the replacement of current types of batteries.
March 25, 2011 00:59 by Jeremy
I know what you're thinking: those look like the phone cases that envelop your whole phone. Right? Wrong. These are actually some concept phones brought about by Kyocera. The idea behind them is that the phones will change shape based on certain circumstances: some will bend to your hand's grip and size, while others will re-form depending on your mood.
According to Kyocera, "70% of how we communicate is through our non verbal body language. This means only 30% of our intended message is conveyed through telecommunications. Realizing the nuances of unspoken communication, these surfaces morph to physically convey emotions to the call recipient."
How would it actually change based on your mood? Better yet, where would the battery be if the phone will continue to mold based on certain situations? Kyocera's answer lies with their definition of Biomimicry: "a polymer battery laminated with polytronic technology, provides the structure of this device."
Check out a few of the nifty shapes these (hopefully real in the future) phones can mold into:
January 27, 2011 00:19 by Jeremy
It's common knowledge that Apple's iPad comes with a hefty battery life: it's almost magical how it manages to stay alive without being plugged into a wall for so long. And yet RIM (Research In Motion) promises that their BlackBerry PlayBook will be able to compete with the iPad in this particular feat of strength.
"It's going to be equal or greater than the iPad with smaller battery size," says Jeff McDowell, RIM's Senior Vice President of Business Marketing and Alliances.
That's a hefty call to make, but I suppose we'll just have to wait and see if it's true. We saw the PlayBook at CES and were sad to hear it didn't have a release date - and it still doesn't.
Even if it fails to beat the iPad's battery life, they can at least make the claim that they've outlasted my patience. Waiting is hard. :(
October 21, 2010 00:42 by Jeremy
In latest news, scientists have dug deeper into the mystery of why lithium-ion batteries degrade over time. The answer, they currently believe, lies in nanoscale changes in the anode and cathode. Giorgio Rizzoni, along with colleagues at the Ohio State University, experimented with batteries that had finished their working lifespan. "We can clearly see that an aged sample versus and unaged sample has much lower lithium concentration in the cathode." In essence, the lithium had actually combined wtih the anode material, making it unavailable for transfer.
With the use of infrared thermal imaging, researchers were able to discover that the electrodes on dead batteries had nanomaterials that had coarsened in size. It is these finely-structured nanomaterials on the electrodes that allow the battery to charge and discharge. Though not yet proven, researchers are suspect that it is this cathode-coarsening that may be responsible for the loss of lithium.
If that theory turns out to be true, it could be a scientific breakthrough, as researchers and scientists could then use that information to create longer-lasting durable lithium ion batteries. This affects not only our electronic devices with laptops, digital cameras, and cell phones, but could also affect the future of gasoline-powered vehicles.
September 27, 2010 12:21 by Ty
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