Best new mobile phones coming soon

Future batteries, coming soon: charge in seconds, last months and power over the air

Extreme Tech

While smartphones, smarthomes and even smart wearables are growing ever more advanced, they're still limited by power. The battery hasn't advanced in decades. But we're on the verge of a power revolution.

Big technology companies, and now car companies that are making electric vehicles, are all too aware of the limitations of current lithium-ion batteries. While chips and operating systems are becoming more efficient to save power we're still only look at a day or two of use on a smartphone before having to recharge. That's why universities are getting involved.

We've seen a plethora of battery discoveries coming out of universities all over the world. Tech companies and car manufacturers are pumping money into battery development. And with races like Formula E adding pressure to improve, that technology is only going to get greater.

But while we've been writing about these developments for years there's still nothing in our phones. This is because everyone is waiting for the perfect replacement before making the jump. That and commitments to current batteries thanks to manufacturing technique that cost a lot to change and existing deals for minerals being hard to break.

microsupercapacitorNext year is starting to shape up as the year batteries change. We've collected all the best battery discoveries that could be with us soon. From over the air charging to super-fast 30-second re-charging, you could be seeing this tech in your gadgets sooner than you think.

Laser-made microsupercapacitors

Rice Univeristy

By using lasers to burn electrode patterns into sheets of plastic manufacturing costs and effort drop massively. The result is a battery that can charge 50 times faster than current batteries and discharge even slower than current supercapacitors. They're even tough, able to work after being bent over 10, 000 times in testing.

Sodium-ion batteries


salt-na-ion-batterySodium-ion batteries, that use salt, have been used in laptops following the creation of a prototype by the French network of researchers and industrial firms called RS2E.

This battery uses a standard that means it can be placed in laptops and even work in electric cars like the Tesla Model S.

The exact method on build and how it works are being kept secret but the 6.5cm battery can manage 90 watt-hours per kilogram, making it comparable to lithium-ion but with a 2000 cycle lifespan, which should be improved.

Foam batteries

The future of batteries is 3D. Prieto is the first company to crack this with its battery that uses a copper foam substrate.

This means these batteries will not only be safer, thanks to no flammable electrolyte, but they will also offer longer life, faster charging, five times higher density, be cheaper to make and be smaller then current offerings.

Prieto aims to place its batteries into small items first, like wearables. But it says the batteries can be upscaled so we could see them in phones and maybe even cars in the future.

Solid-state batteries


Scientists at MIT, working with Samsung, have discovered solid-state batteries that are better than current lithium-ion efforts. These batteries should be safer, last longer and offer more power.

Current lithium-ion batteries rely on an electrolyte liquid to transport charged particles between the two electrodes. It's this liquid that can be flammable and which degrades the battery, limiting life.

According to the MIT report these new batteries could be charged for hundreds of thousands of cycles before degrading. They could also provide a 20 to 30 per cent improvement in power density meaning that much more charge for whatever they are powering. And they aren't flammable so they're ideal for electric cars.

Nano 'yolk' triple capacity and charge in six minutes

solid-state-battery nanoscale-yolk-battery-mit Screen-Shot-2015-04-07-at-09.13.41 flexible-battery
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