Wednesday
October 22, 2014

Is the End of the Dead Battery Near?

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Is the End of the Dead Battery Near?

Hunting for a wall-socket to charge your phone may one day be a thing of the past. Nokia is working with researchers from Queen Mary University of London to develop new technology that one day may be able to charge your smartphone with sound.

It’s the latest in a string of technologies aimed at creating faster, more efficient ways to charge tech devices, and also keep them charged longer. Numerous consumer polls have shown that a better battery life is the most important feature to smartphone users. As such, researchers have been in a race to develop longer-lasting, faster charging batteries.

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Developers from Nokia and QMUL are finding that zinc oxide may be key to producing more efficient batteries.  It’s a material that can be used to turn mechanical energy—energy created by motion—into electrical energy. They’re testing how to use energy to generate a high voltage that responds to vibration and movement, which can be generated by an everyday sound, like the sound of your voice. So far, the team has tested and been able to charge a Nokia Lumia 925 using sound.

Researchers are also experimenting with bigger batteries in some devices like the Sony Xperia Z2 and Samsung Galaxy S5, which have allowed users to get 24 hours of battery life, if used “correctly.” Some extreme power save modes allow users to operate devices for as long as a week without charging, Forbes.com reports.

Scientists at Stanford University have developed a pure lithium anode that they say has the potential to increase the capacity of existing battery technology by 400 percent. Other researchers are focusing on cases that can extend battery life, such as FLIR One’s thermal imaging case and Vysk communication’s QS1 encryption case, both for iPhones.

Other companies are focusing on how to get a charge at super-fast speeds. For example, earlier this year StoreDot offered a peek at its new ultra-fast battery charging device, which the company says is capable of charging a Samsung Galaxy S3 in 30 seconds. The company plans to begin mass production of the device in 2015.

Source: “New Technology Charges Smartphones with Sound,” Forbes.com (July 15, 2014)