The best thing about USB is that it completely did away with a big tangled pile of proprietary data-and-power connectors that we used to have to rely on to power our gadgets. That was a huge step forward for humanity, but the scourge of proprietary connectors remains in th form of laptop power cords. The next generation of USB might take care of that, too.
Lilliputian Systems is not a big name in portable power, but they have some big ideas, and this year, they've promised a big product: a fuel cell generator the size of a smartphone that will be able to generate enough power on one cartridge of butane to charge an iPhone up to 14 times. Goodbye batteries, hello liquid electricity.
As if it wasn't already hard enough to find open power outlets in coffee shops or airports, Sony is now developing the next generation of "smart" outlets that will withhold electricity until you authenticate yourself or pay some money. Yay for progress.
Just when you thought cockroaches had no possible useful reason to exist, scientists have figured out a way to extract power from their bodies kind of like they did with humans in The Matrix.
I dunno about you, but I've got a new item at the top of my omg want list: Asahi Kasei corporation has developed elastic power and data cables that can be stretched up to 1.5 times their original length while maintaining their connections.
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.
One of the problems with implantable electronic medical devices like pacemakers, is that you need to get a new one installed with fresh batteries every few years. This tiny power turbine could end that routine, by using your own blood flow to generate power for recharging the pacemaker.
Researchers at Purdue University have developed a special metal alloy that can spontaneously split saltwater into hydrogen and oxygen, generating both hydrogen fuel and clean fresh water at the same time.
Remember as a kid when your mom would declare "that could put an eye out" every time you found a cool new toy? Well I wonder if Patrick Priebe's mom ever told him that, because his DIY pulse laser gun is that kind of thing that should get moms everywhere running for the first aid kit.
Energy harvesters are devices that suck electricity out of the world as you go about your normal daily routine, the idea being that your gadgets will always be charging themselves. Fujitsu has made a harvester that's twice as efficient by stealing energy from both light and heat at once.