Why would anyone ever want to carry around a two pound battery pack that uses disposable batteries to charge their MacBook Air, which barely weighs more than that by itself? There are reasons, and they may even be good reasons.
Electricity is nothing like gas. You can't just pump a tank full of it into your electric car, which means that we're reduced to lengthy charge times or inefficient compromises like battery swap stations. MIT researchers may have come close to solving this problem with a battery goo that you can pump just like gas.
A flywheel battery is a system that stores electricity as kinetic energy, in the form of a a wheel that spins at tens of thousands of RPM. Made of carbon fiber and levitated in a vacuum using magnetic bearings, hundreds of flywheels are about to join the power grid in New York.
Seeing as we don't yet have ultracapacitors in our electric cars that can recharge themselves in seconds or minutes that would make refueling comparable to gasoline, the only reliable way to get a hot n' fresh stack of batts looks to be these robotic battery swapping stations.
By converting some of the wires inside memory chips into carbon nanotubes, researchers say that they could boost the battery life of cell phones and laptops and other mobile electronics by a factor of 100.
It used to be that the idea of, say, a flexible, morphing phone was just something explored by concept designers. The technology for bendy gadgetry is steadily falling into place, however, and here's another puzzle piece figured out thanks to South Korea: the batteries.
Some gadgets still require you to use AA batteries, like a Wii or Xbox 360 controller or a cheap digital camera. Wouldn't it be handy to not have to pop rechargeable batteries into a charger and wait for it to juice up? A new battery design concept would eliminate the wait time by letting you wind up the battery to recharge it.
By turning powders into fibers using carbon nanotube webs, researchers at the University of Texas have managed to make yarn that can clean itself and work as a battery. It also happens to be a superconductor, but most importantly, it's machine-washable.
Every year, IBM decides what five technologies it thinks are going to make it big in the next five years, based on their research and emerging trends. Some of it is dull and more or less already here, but some of it - like walking holograms - is crazy and awesome.
The tobacco mosaic virus makes its living by munching on tobacco plants and other vegetables. Researchers have somehow figured out that by slathering the virus onto battery electrodes, it can increase battery capacity by a factor of ten.