The world has come a long way in the world of embedded computing, with
more and more power now able to squeeze onto integrated circuits versus
having to use discrete processors and the like. Integrated graphics are
far more powerful now than they were, and integrated processors in
general are far more capable now than ever before. But there is still a
long ways to go in making fewer things discrete, namely the battery. The
battery has held back innovation in consumer electronics for as long as
portable devices have been around; regardless of how great a design is,
there must always be consideration made for a battery. Drats.
Oki Printed Circuits is hoping to change our opinion on these batteries
by making them easier to integrate into future devices, possibly
eliminating the need for external batteries altogether. The company
recently showcased a prototype board with an all-solid-state Lithium-Ion
(rechargeable) at the JPCA Show in Japan, which actually has a
battery embedded into a printed circuit board. We were pretty impressed
when we heard that Asus managed to embed an integrated ATI
series GPU into a standard ATX desktop motherboard, but this feat may be
even more amazing.
The battery on the PCB is a product of Infinite Power Solutions, with an
output voltage of 4.2V and capacity of 0.7mAh. Obviously this is fairly
weak at the moment, but things could always be scaled up in time. The
prototype is simply using the integrated battery to turn on and off a
LED lamp, but in the future it could be used to remotely power far more
powerful objects or even keep your entire motherboard running in case of
power failure in your home.
The company hopes to bring the product to market in 2011, with the help
of "several corporate partners."