Many of the modern soldiers are currently saddled with battery packs that can weigh upto 20 pounds. The batteries, of course, are used to power the wide gamut of equipment that a modern soldier carries with him. However, the soldiers can now heave a sigh of relief as a wearable power system is soon going to replace the heavy batteries.
The team of America’s DuPont and Germany’s SFC Smart Fuel CellSFC Smart Fuel Cell has won the $1 million Wearable Power Prize organized by the Pentagon with its M-25 fuel cell. The M-25 weighs only 3.71 kilograms and can provide 20 watts of average power for 96 hours. The wearable system includes a fuel cell and a battery. The army has already begun using the system, though in a limited way.
Battery life isn't just the bane of desktop replacements, but even moderately spec'd notebooks aren't immune from woefully short runs before requiring a recharge. And while HP has laid claim to breaking the 24-hour battery barrier, by and large we're simply not at the point of seeing extraordinary long battery life as a way of mobile life.
That doesn't mean headway isn't being made, and Toshiba thinks it can give traditional Li-Ion batteries a run for its money. Toshiba's calling its prototype the Super Charge Ion Battery (SCiB), which is being designed for notebooks. And by Super Charge, Toshiba says SCiB is capable of recharging up to 90 percent in just 10 minutes or less.
Still not impressed? Not only does SCiB hold the potential for wicked fast recharge times, but its said to both last longer and endure more charging cycles when compared to today's lithium-ion batteries. And it's not even close. Whereas lithium-ion batteries can be expected to last 500 charging cycles on average, Toshiba says its SCiB technology will last anywhere between 5000 to 6000 recharges.
Holy moly, talk about being charged up! HP claims its new EliteBook 6930p can deliver up to 24 hours of battery runtime, or 5 hours longer than Dell's Latitude E6400, provided it comes equipped with an optional ultra-capacity battery.
“All-day computing has been the holy grail of notebook computing,” said Ted Clark, senior vice president and general manager, Notebook Global Business Unit, HP. “With the HP EliteBook 6930p, customers no longer have to worry about their notebook battery running out before their work day is over.”
While we can't rule out a dose of voodoo magic as a contributing factor, much of the credit goes to the Intel 80GB SSD drive and 14.1-inch mercury-free Illumi-Lite LED display, both of which HP says are required add-ons to make the feat possible. And that's not with a wimpy processor either - the least powerful CPU in the 6930p's lineup is an Intel Core 2 Duo P8400. Toss a spill resistant keyboard and an inner magnesium shell into the mix and HP has one tough mother on its hands.
Engineers have come up with a bit of sick technology, and we're not using that term as slang. Instead, they've found a way to assemble a key component of a microscopic battery using viruses, potentially paving the way for cheap and simple construction of pint-sized power sources.
The MIT group had previously been able to genetically engineer viruses to make a protein skin capable of attracting bits of metal, and this new research builds on that by having those same viruses build a specific part. In the MIT experiment, the genetically engineered viruses would help build the anode portion of a battery by attracting cobalt oxide. And more than just a proof of concept, the process has been drawing attention because of its ease-of-use and low cost.
One stumbling block preventing the widespread use of viruses in battery construction is a lack of application. There currently aren't any devices that would require a battery roughly one tenth the width of a human hair, though future applications could see the technology being used in nanotechnology.
Anyone else see the plot for a bad B-movie shaping up?
Call ZPower ambitious or destined to fail, but whatever you do, don't tell ZPower's brass that lithium-ion batteries are the way to go. Instead, this company has made it their mission "to be the leading global provider of silver-zinc rechargeable battery technology for portable power applications."
Toppling lithium-ion as the technology of choice is no easy task, but according to ZPower, next generation silver-zinc rechargeables will offer 40 percent more runtime than traditional Li-Ion while also being chemically stable. And in a nod towards environmentalists, the company says over 95 percent of the primary elements in silver-zinc batteries can be recycled and reused.
Does it all sound too good to be true? Perhaps, but if it means we can kill time during a cross-country flight by watching a 3-hour flick and getting in a round or two of gaming, then here's hoping ZPower can pull it off.
One of the biggest sacrifices power users must make when picking out a notebook inevitably comes down to battery life. Lugging around a desktop replacement isn't just heavy, it also means portability becomes a PITA, as you better have a power outlet nearby when the battery loses its juice. But what if enthusiasts could have their portable cake and eat it too?
Intel looks to serve up such a dish as part of its Centrino 2 platform with switchable graphics. From within the OS, gamers and other power users will have the option of switching between discrete graphics during intense fragfests and internal graphics when hashing out that less demanding TPS report.
The power savings, according to Intel, will be as much as one-third, which in some cases could add up to an hour (or more) of battery life. More than just lip service, Intel held an onstage demonstration showing a laptop consume about 25 watts of power while using discrete graphics. Switching to integrated graphics dropped the consumption down to 15-16 watts.
Is this the feature power users have been waiting for?
Quad-core processors, 7200RPM hard drives, faster graphic solutions, and an increasing amount of technical doodads both internal and external all take their toll on a notebook's battery life. To combat this, Sony says it will spend about 40 billion yen (that's $371 million USD for us sitting stateside) toward strengthening its lithium ion battery production operations, representing the first phase of investment in lithium ion batteries the company will take as part of a three year effort to reinforce core areas of its component and semiconductor business.
The money will go towards both new production facilities and to enhance existing lines at Sony's Motomiya Technology Center and Tochiga Technology Center, both of which are used to produce lithium ion batteries. As a result, Sony hopes to almost double its monthly production capacity from the current level of 41 million cells per month to 74 million by fiscal 2010.