Shareware Beach

Tuesday, 12 April 2005

Breakthrough Battery

Filed under: Life & The Universe — Jan @ 20:45

Who would have thought I’d ever get excited enough about a battery, of all things, to blog about it?

Toshiba has revealed a new kind of battery. It’s a lithium-ion battery, just like most batteries used in mobile phones, portable computers, etc. It’s claim to fame is that it can be recharged at breakneck speed. A 600 mAh prototype, more than enough to feed a mobile phone all day long, needs only a minute to be recharged to 80% capacity (i.e. almost full).

The announcement didn’t say how the charge time scales with the size of the battery. My guess is a laptop-size battery would take a little longer. Even if it does take 5 minutes, that’s still in a totally different league that current batteries which take hours.

Toshiba claims the battery is good (i.e. less bad) for the environment because the shorter charge time reduces engergy consumption. But I see a bigger benefit: much less need for spare batteries, and thus much less chemicals ending up in landfills or requiring energy-intensive recycling processes.

When I carry my digital camera around, I also carry a spare battery, so I never run out of juice at the wrong time. It allows me to charge one battery, which takes hours, and still use the camera with the other.

I’m sure my wife would also appreciate a quick-recharge battery, even if only for my sanity. The battery of her mobile phone always seems to run out when lots of people are calling her. Probably because calling drains the battery. :-) So she’ll go out leaving the phone plugged into the wall, leaving me to tell everybody she can’t be reached.

The battery seems to be the weakest link in many technology gadgets, at least for now. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could order a free battery recharge along with an overpriced cup of coffee to recharge yourself? :-)

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