Is the "charging issue" fading away anytime soon?

Powermat charge rings. Credit: Starbucks

The impression I have, shared by many, is that batteries are lagging behind in the evolution race. I am still having problems with depleting charge and I am still looking for some power socket to recharge my, many, devices.

And yet, I acknowledge this is just an impression and that in reality batteries have progressed significantly. The fact is that our "power" needs have also increased considerably with the result that we are still experiencing the same urge to recharge we had several years ago (on the other hand, I am still running out of storage capacity, in my digital camera, in my computer, in my hard drive .... and I am still buying more capacity on a yearly bases).

Progress have been made in many areas, like more capacity per battery volume, faster recharging and also ways of recharging.

As an example, Starbucks has announced the plan to equip its 7,000+ stores with recharging mats that can let you recharge your phone (or tablet or watch...) as you drink your coffee. The recharge is using induction. They are placing recharging mats in their tables and a recharging ring connected to your device power inlet can suck the energy waves emitted by the mat and recharge the battery.

Other approaches try to shorten the time it takes to recharge the battery, like the work being done at the University of California where the aim is to shorten the time it takes to recharge to 10 minutes (or as they say the time it takes to sip a coffee).

Looking further down the lane we are starting to see the possibility of having our wearable devices being continuously recharged by the power generated by smart dresses. The fabric they are made of will transform mechanical stress resulting from walking around, light absorption and temperature gradient into electrical power to feed the batteries.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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