Smartphones have taken on such an important role in our everyday life that it is hard to imagine a life without them. But, cell phones as well as other mobile electronic devices are only as good as they are charged and powerless when they are, well, without power.
Just think how easier your life would be if there was a way to charge your devices anytime anywhere, without having to scavenge around for an electrical outlet at a crowded coffee shop. Today, we’d like to share with you some of the interesting scientific breakthroughs we’ve read about recently that may allow you to do just that!
Scientists have found a way to use a cheap T-shirt to store electrical power, paving the way for clothes that are able to charge phones and other devices, according to a recent BBC report.
Xiaodong Li, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of South Carolina, and post-doctorate researcher Lihong Bao soaked a T-shirt in a solution of fluoride, dried it and then baked it in an oxygen-free environment at high temperature.
The fibers in the fabric converted from cellulose to activated carbon during the process, but the material remained flexible. And by using small parts of the fabric as an electrode, the researchers showed that the material could be made to act as a capacitor that stores an electrical charge.
The findings, which were published in the Advanced Materials journal, mean cotton T-shirts we wear every day could become “flexible energy storage devices” that could also be crucial components for future gadgets such as roll-up cell phones.
Researchers at Rice University have developed a technology that allows virtually any surface to become a battery: paintable or spray-on lithium-ion batteries.
According to a recent post on TreeHugger, the Rice University team formulated, mixed and tested various paints to make up the five layered components of a lithium-ion battery.
The researchers, then, sprayed them onto different surfaces including ceramic tiles, glass, stainless steel, flexible polymers and even a beer stein to test how they would bond to the surfaces.
In the first experiment using nine bathroom tiles, one was topped with a solar cell that converted power from a white laboratory light. When fully charged, the sprayed on batteries alone powered a set of LEDs that spelled out “RICE” for six hours, and with a consistent capacity, too.
Lead author Neelam Singh says her team is actively looking for ways to make it easier to create painted batteries in the open air.
A team of Japanese university students have recently displayed a method that could significantly make the lives of electric vehicle drivers easier by relieving them of the burden of having to pull off the road to recharge the battery.
At the Wireless Technology Park 2012, the team at Toyohashi University of Technology showed their prototype of the Electric Vehicle on Electrified Roadway (EVER) system, which could eventually lead to a technology enabling vehicles to recharge while on the move, according to CleanTechnica.
In their demonstration, four-inch blocks of concrete – representing the road surface – were placed under standard size car tires, with metal plates in-between. And they successfully transmitted 50 to 60 watts of electricity to the tires. The development suggests we may be able to see the day when we can electrify the roads to perpetually charge our electric vehicle and give it an indefinite range.
(Photos from the above mentioned sites)