Does your SmartPhone need more battery storage?
Visiting my family in Colorado Springs I experienced the ultimate problem of all Smart Phones: no battery storage at a critical moment.
Colorado Springs is a lovely long and narrow North-South city with the Rockies bordering the West side and forest and military the East. For one directionally challenged, a GPS is a must.
One particular day during my visit I was quite grateful that my Droid Ultra was enabling such flawless directional driving between multiple places. Until I noticed the warning, “You have 7% battery storage left.” Oh. Nice! Still 7-whole-percent! Which dropped very quickly, due to my inattention, to 1%.
Now here’s where things got really sticky. With 1% battery storage left, I had two major concerns. One, how would I find my way back to my sister’s house? Two, if the phone battery failed, how would I give a call of desperation to tell someone that my battery had failed? Technology had put me between a rock and a hard place. Two-strikes and facing a fast ball. Did I strike out?
Because this story is post experience, you can see that I made it back. But I certainly could have used a larger battery. Is there any help out there? There is! Some very interesting upcoming changes to smart phone batteries helpful to critical situations when your smart phone needs extra battery storage.
Evidently, 1% is a hedge, a final warning for inattentive users. My battery storage indicator stayed on the 1% mark a lot longer than it took to go from 7% to 1%. I suppose the next step would be 0% and then a minus 2% to convince that, “This battery storage thing is serious! You need to take action now!” But I reached an outlet before I got to -2% and all was well.
Still, doesn’t that raise the biggest problem with smart phones? Amazingly, they do a lot. I can have my SMS messages read to me as I drive! And dictate an answer all hands free. Google Now not only tells me that my flight is on time and upcoming, it tells me when I need to leave to get me to the gate on time. It gives me weather, communication, books read aloud and Kindle to read. Maps, mail and meetings. The calendar is a cool tool I choose not to be without. And, as embarrassingly explained, I really cannot do without my GPS.
But there’s the rub. Whether I like it or not, without sufficient battery storage I am without all those wonderful conveniences. Charging stations at the airport and an in-car charger make a really big difference (which I obviously did not have). But they are so slow. The chemical change that increases traditional battery storage can only be reversed at a slow pace. To speed up the process is dangerous. Unless…
Storedot is working to charge your smartphone fully in 30 seconds. Available Christmas 2016, their current research device can now take the Galaxy S5 from 15% to 100% battery storage in a little under two minutes.
These are not the traditional battery storage containers for smart phones, but are a battery using a different chemical makeup. And there is a tradeoff. The quick recharge type battery storage unit only lasts 4-5 hours. However, it is an acceptable problem when the return for half the battery storage life is a quick recharge at 15%, or even topping it off just before that trip or meeting when still at 65%.
Electric cars are next on the Storedot agenda. They are looking to charge the Tesla in 5 minutes. But wait. There’s more.
There are some interesting technological advancements around battery storage on the horizon that could have a direction-changing effect on smart phones. The size of the battery becomes less of a problem if the OS is more cooperative.
Samsung has developed a new type of memory module for smart phones called ePoP (embedded package on package). ePoP is a single memory package that consists of 3 GB DRAM, 32GB eMMC (embedded multi-media card) and a controller. It combines all essential memory components into a single package that can be stacked directly on top of the mobile processor, without taking any additional space.
This is tech-talk. I realize that. But the simple point is that reducing memory demand also reduces drain on battery storage resource. But wait. There’s still more.
What is fascinating – for those techies who have read this far – is where the idea for the quick-charge technology came from: research on Alzheimer’s disease.
Forbes writer Jay McGregor tells us, “The discovery of the technology itself was thanks to ongoing research into Alzheimer’s disease by the nanotechnology department of Tel Aviv University. The Guardian’s Shane Hickey explains:
“Researchers found interesting properties in a certain peptide molecule – a chain of amino acids – that affects neurons in the brain and causes Alzheimer’s. It turned out that these molecules had high capacitance, the ability to hold an electrical charge.
“When two of these molecules are combined, they make a crystal which is two nanometers in size – two billionths of a metre. These “nanodots” form the basis of the StoreDot technology. Because of their increased capacitance, they can make batteries which rapidly absorb and hold a charge.”
And that, my friends, is pretty cool. But wait. There’s more. Admittedly, this “more” is rather future in nature. But certainly worth knowing about.
A future product that would improve battery storage life and function for both phones and cars and all others, is graphene. Graphene is a thin layer of pure carbon, which consists of tightly packed carbon atoms in a lattice shape.
Graphene has a lot of potential. Its mix of large surface area, light weight and the fact that it’s a powerful conductor means that it’s perfect for high capacity storage. It’s 100-300 times stronger than steel and conducts electricity better than copper.
In terms of smart phones, graphene could lead to batteries being charged to full in a matter of seconds – not to mention dramatically extending the life of the battery.
And yes. There’s still one more. Stanford University professor, Yi Cui, and his team of researchers have designed a pure lithium anode, which has the potential to increase current lithium battery storage capacity by 400% by allowing 4 times as many recharges without destroying the anode – from 25 to 100 recharges.
Unlike the StoreDot recharger which claimes to be ready by Christmas 2016, the new lithium will not be commercialized for another 5 years – 2020, that magical of all years future.
How about connecting wirelessly to a battery storage facility like this one in Sendai, Japan?
Talk about a really big battery. This is it! Better solution is to have a device that creates its own electricity and never runs out. Battery storage always present. The technology is there. Just beyond our reach for now.