A research team at the University of Alberta may have made a breakthrough that ultimately leads to dramatic improvements in the batteries that power everything from laptops and smartphones to medical devices and tools. According to lead researcher Xinwei Cui, the lithium-ion battery technology his team is currently developing charges faster, lasts longer and outputs more power than current lithium-ion batteries. More →
Two engineers at the University of South Carolina conducted research that showed a modified store-bought T-shirt can act like a supercapacitor and store an electrical charge. “We wear fabric every day,” said Xiaodong Li, a professor of mechanical engineering at the school. “One day our cotton T-shirts could have more functions; for example, a flexible energy storage device that could charge your cell phone or your iPad.” Li and his associates used a store-bought T-shirt, which was then soaked in a fluoride solution and baked at a high temperature in an oxygen-free oven. Once removed, the resulting fibers were converted from cellulose to activated carbon capable of storage an electrical charge.
An Apple patent uncovered on Thursday describes new technology Apple is experimenting with in an effort to increase the battery life in its device lines. The patent filing, entitled Increasing Energy Density in Rechargeable Lithium Battery Cells, describes a unique multi-pronged approach to the problem of poor battery life in consumer electronics. Apple is investigating the use of a new “multi-step constant-current constant-voltage (CC-CV) charging technique,” which would increase the volumetric and gravimetric energy density of energy-storing material within a battery. According to the filing, this would increase the capacity of a battery without impacting battery size or charge time. Relative to competitive products, Apple’s mobile device and laptop lines are often praised for exhibiting impressive battery life. There can never be enough time in between charges, however, and as more features and better displays are added to future devices, manufacturers will always struggle to ensure battery life is not overly degraded as a result. More →
Just a quick PSA: Garmin has just announced that they are voluntarily recalling 1.25 million nüvi navigation units due to the possibility of faulty batteries. A press release explains that some devices, with a specific printed circuit board design, could contain defective third-party batteries that, “in rare circumstances, increase the possibility of overheating, which may lead to a fire hazard.” The nüvi models affected include those with the model numbers 200W, 250W, 260W, 7xx and 7xxT. If you want to determine if your nüvi is being recalled you can visit garmin.com/nuvibatterypcbrecall to check. We have the full press release after the break. More →
The Duo seems to have been a failed experiment for battery maker Energizer in more ways than one. Sales of the USB nickle-metal battery charging station never really took off, and now, via a press release, the company has announced the monitoring software distributed with the Duo packs a fairly nasty Windows trojan. The rogue code, according to Computerworld: “listens for commands on TCP port 7777… can download and execute files, transmit files stolen from the PC, or tweak the Windows registry. The Trojan automatically executes each time the PC is turned on, and remains active, even if the Energizer charger is not connected to the machine.” Energizer released a statement saying: “Energizer is currently working with both CERT and U.S. government officials to understand how the code was inserted in the software.” More →