Is there life ahead for batteries, or are we doomed to live with heavy,
clunky cells that die far too soon? We have seen gentle increases in
battery life over the years, with some more modern notebooks gaining 10+
hours when combined with low-power chipsets. But we're still a long,
long way from having every single notebook able to stay on throughout a
trans-atlantic flight. The good news is that there are companies and
researchers working hard on fixing it. There's a hope for a future with
more incredible batteries, and a few good minds at the University of
Illinois are heading up the newest research.
The engineers have developed a form of ultra-low-power digital memory
that is faster and uses 100 times less energy than similar available
memory. According to the university, "the technology could give future
portable devices much longer battery life between charges." The team is
planning to publish their results in the forthcoming issue of Science
Express, and leader Eric Pop sums the research up nicely: "“I think
anyone who is dealing with a lot of chargers and plugging things in
every night can relate to wanting a cell phone or laptop whose batteries
can last for weeks or months."
Albert Liao, a graduate student and co-author, added this: "Anytime
you’re running an app, or storing MP3s, or streaming videos, it’s
draining the battery
. The memory and the processor are working hard
retrieving data. As people
use their phones to place calls less and use them for computing more,
improving the data storage and retrieval operations is important."
Is the nanotube PCM memory the answer to the world's battery problems?
It's hard to say this early on, but we're hoping advancements will lead
to iPhones with 30 day battery lives and notebooks that can last a week.
Well, if you're going to dream, you might as well dream big.