The old "my battery is dead" excuse for not calling your mother may soon be a thing of the past. A team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), led by Professor Jo Byeong-jin, has developed a "wearable thermo-element" that can be built into clothing to power your electronic devices.
The science behind the innovation converts body heat (thermal energy) into usable electric energy. Made with lightweight glass fiber, this small thermo-element strip can produce about 40mW of electricity, which is enough to start a semiconductor chip. But when scaled up to the size of a jacket, it can produce closer to 2W of energy, which is enough for using a mobile phone.
While forms of this tech have been around for quite some time, this application may be on the market sooner than you think. According to Professor Byeong-jin, the technology "will be commercialized within the next two – three years" and "can be mass-produced easily", with costs being lower than average battery prices today.
The utility of this type of innovation is vast, as these materials can go a long way into not only powering our handheld devices, but also the wearables that will consume the market in the coming years.
With a goal to be on shelves in a couple of years, the Israeli research firm StoreDot has just posted a video showcasing their amazing rapid charge battery.
Yea, that Galaxy S4 just went from 27% battery life to a full charge in a little under thirty seconds, and will continue to charge itself even after it's removed from the charger. Amazingly enough, this technology was borne out of Alzheimer's research at Tel Aviv University.
According to Doron Myerdorf, founder and CEO of StoreDot, "during that research, specific amino acids were isolated and we managed to use those amino acids and peptides to create nanocrystals." The nanocrystals have special properties that allow for use in various devices, such as batteries.
So while things like "Extreme power saving mode" are great and all (and usable today), I'm much more excited about the future of battery and charging technology. It hasn't kept pace with graphic and processing technology, but it's about to make some serious leaps.
Phone batteries image via The Atlantic