Jul 22 2012

Batteries Not Included… Or Needed

By Valkyrie Ice


If you’ve been a regular reader of my work, you know I’ve spent a lot of time discussing a future that is much more portable than today’s. From super-computer-like smart phones to drones to skin tight exoskeletons enabling a variety of physical enhancements from strength and endurance to cosmetic morphability, the future is full of devices that leave your desk behind and go with you anywhere. What I have not spent a lot of time on is discussing the advancements in batteries which will make this all possible, other than a few links here and there to advances in batteries and solar cells. However, a recent article  made me laugh, because I’ve been envisioning this advance for awhile now. For those of you not following the links, they’ve developed batteries and solar cells that can be spray painted on any surface.

Yes, you read that right.  But don’t take my word for it. Let the researchers tell you themselves.

and for the Solar cells:

Now, the technology is still in the lab, and yes, it’s still limited, but it’s far from finished research. Its real meaning is as a proof of concept. Once it’s been played around with, and combined with one of the many other technological advances in batteries that have been occurring recently, it should be pretty obvious that those “standard” batteries we’ve taken for granted for decades are about to undergo a radical transformation.

For example, combining this spray-on technique with types of graphene could lead to massively reduced costs to manufacture batteries, Or the use of tin as an anode could increase the amount of energy that can be stored per battery. Or, with a little mix of Carbon Nanotubes and Graphene, the times needed to charge and discharge a battery could be cut dramatically. Silicon electrodes could just as dramatically increase energy densities as tin. Ionic liquid electrolytes might also enable higher energy capacities far beyond todays.

The point is that batteries as discrete components are likely to become a thing of the past as new battery technology becomes available, and devices that need recharging might become a historical curiosity. Your future smartphone could keep itself charged indefinitely, using any available source of light, and unlike your current phone, be constructed of printed layers of electronics, batteries, camera/displays, and solar cells. The ability to shape batteries to any surface could lead to electric cars whose body is the battery, and the advances in charging speed could lead to gas station like recharging stations as quick to use as current fossil fuels. For smaller devices, from toys to personal electronics, not only will such advances mean indefinite life, but such a reduced cost to manufacture that these devices could be considered “disposable.”

And these are only a small sampling of the many advances that have occurred in the last few years. Suffice it to say, you are likely to be ending that old holiday tradition of buying batteries for all your gifts.

Sorry, Coppertop : P

  • By Susan Karshaniak, July 23, 2012 @ 4:12 am

    How on earth did you manage not to mention the EXCITING SUPER SCIENCE FICTION FUTURE WORLD OF SELF CHARGING DILDOES ?

    c’mon, an Ice article that doesn’t reference S E X?

    you are slipping, Mr. Ice.

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