Three Examples of Cutting-Edge Battery Technology
Batteries are one of those products that we tend to take for granted until something goes wrong. Maybe our smartphone stops working after 45 minutes, we end up stranded on the side of the road or we discover a dangerously disintegrating battery inside our remote control or other devices.
Fortunately, there are diligent researchers who spend their lives coming up with ways to make the batteries that we use better, safer and more powerful. Check out the following examples of cutting-edge battery technology:
Quick Charge Technology
Traditionally, recharging a smartphone or tablet battery meant plugging the device into the charger and waiting — in some cases, for several hours. Now, thanks to the Quick Charge technology that is found in the Qualcomm Snapdragon series, some of the fastest mobile processors available, you can recharge your mobile device’s battery in a fraction of the time. Called “5 for 5,” this new technology provides a whopping 5 hours of talk time in a measly 5 minutes of charging time. If you have an important call with the boss coming up in 5 minutes and your discover that your battery is dead as a doornail, the Quick Charge technology can not only revive your battery, it can also ease your stress level. In addition, the Qualcomm Snapdragon series is designed to use as little power as possible, so you can enjoy more talk, movie and music time than ever before.
How Much Battery Life is Left?
In a gas-powered vehicle, the fuel gauge lets you know how much gas you have left. In an electric car, such as those made by Tesla, a state-of-charge monitor lets a driver know how many miles she has left before the car’s battery will need a charge. Since a battery’s ability to hold a charge changes as it gets older, and factors like temperature can also impact the amount of life it has left, a traditional state-of-charge monitor may not give a true reading. This is because it relies on measurements of the battery’s current or voltage, but not external factors. Because it is imperative for this mileage estimate to be as accurate as possible — after all, battery charging stations are not as prevalent as gas stations — researchers are looking at ways to improve these state-of-charge systems. A team of scientists from North Carolina State University recently invented a system that will more reliably determine the amount of charge that is left in a lithium-ion battery — the same type of battery used in plug-in electric cars. They focused on creating a model that will predict the state-of-charge based on a variety of input factors, not just the voltage. After testing the new system, the team was pleased to announce that it was accurate to within 5 percent.
A Safer Solid-State Alkaline Battery
A number of kids’ toys require batteries, as do a variety of gadgets around the house. To ensure that the batteries that we have used to power our flashlights and remote control cars are as safe as possible, the team from Ionic Materials are announcing plans to make solid-state rechargeable alkaline batteries a great alternative to lithium-ion and other types of batteries. As The New York Times notes, alkaline batteries are cheaper and safe, but they are not rechargeable. Researchers from Ionic Materials plan to change that issue by coming up with an alkaline battery that can be recharged hundreds of times, and is also less likely to combust or have other safety problems.
While battery life isn’t typically the first and foremost concern for consumers, better, safer batteries are presently contributing to significant advancements in a number of industries.