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Newsweek: Batteries are the Weak Link in Tech



batterylife Well, duh. The folks at Newsweek decided to pick up a story that anyone associated with mobile tech has known for quite some time now. Newsweek’s article focusing on batteries as the weak link in technology is worth a quick read though because it talks a bit about some of the innovations and new efforts into improved battery technology, not just for our gadgets but also for automobiles. I do find it fascinating that improvement and innovation in batteries and battery life are still sort of a ‘backwater’ industry, simply because I would imagine that he who builds the better mousetrap here is going to reap amazing rewards.

Check out the whole article here.



  1. Sumocat

    11/26/2008 at 2:10 am

    The barrier to battery tech has been that it is a chemistry-based technology, limiting it to chemical forms of energy storage. It's been waiting for the nano-tech revolution to break that wall, which hopefully we'll see in the next five years.

  2. Snowii

    11/26/2008 at 2:49 am

    Sumocat: I don't agree with that, we've seen number of minor to major innovations in past couple of years and if 50% of those had been implemented by know, in combination with lower consumption of today's devices, I believe we would be enjoying at least twice the battery operation hours than we currently are…

    but it's not in the best interest of battery producers to face additional major cost with rebuilding their facilities, so they rather bury their heads in sand and pretend there's nothing new out there… with mobile devices boom in recent years their facing higher returns than ever before, so why change anything?

    makes me sad :(

  3. Sumocat

    11/26/2008 at 3:24 am

    Snowii: I believe our disagreement is limited to what constitutes a breakthrough. Double the battery life sounds good, but I consider it an incremental change. Nano-tech batteries and capacitors are expected to offer even greater energy density, the ability to charge in seconds, and no problem with thermal runaway. That's simply not possible with chemistry-based batteries.

  4. Mark (K0LO)

    11/26/2008 at 9:19 am

    Snowii: Your point about lower consumption of devices is also germane to the process of obtaining longer battery life. This is an area of electronic circuit design that has only recently (in the last 5 years) come to be seen as important. I've been designing circuits for 40 years and can tell you that power consumption has been an afterthought for most designers. Thankfully, the proliferation of portable gadgets has brought this to the forefront today. It requires a different mindset to design for absolute minimum power consumption. 30 years ago I was designing battery-operated weather instrumentation that was microprocessor-based and included UHF radio telemetry. The current drain had to be only a few microamperes so that the battery would last all summer. Things like this have been possible for a long time now but have only recently been seen as important design goals. There is a lot more that can be done to reduce power consumption, and today's circuit designers are making progress in this area. It's not what Sumocat is looking for but it's good design practice while we're waiting for a fundamental breakthrough in battery technology.

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