Forget Advancements In Battery Life -- Just Decrease Power Consumption

from the ah,-so-simple... dept

The issue of battery life is a big one in the consumer electronics world -- especially for mobile phones. While a lot of research is being done on ways to increase battery life, there is no Moore's Law for batteries, and real advancements are few and far between. Basically, the more power you pack into a small battery, the more like a bomb it is. It may be possible to pack a super long life battery, but it involves a high risk of exploding -- which is something most people prefer to avoid. So, if you can't extend the power output of a battery, why not work on the next best thing: lowering the power consumption of the device? That's exactly what some researchers in Canada appear to be doing, as they claim they've produced an analog chip that requires only 1/100th the power consumption of existing digital chips. There are a lot of questions this raises -- and I wouldn't expect to see (as the article suggests) phones that only need to be charged once a year any time soon. However, it does point out that there are other ways to approach questions like battery life on devices.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Xman, Dec 9th, 2004 @ 4:31am

    This is new?

    Some people round here have been working on and producing low power chips for years. This is not really news, the news would be if manufacturers were prepared to use them!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    DV Henkel-Wallace, Dec 9th, 2004 @ 5:53am

    Uhh, news?

    Those of us working on mobile device design have been using this (low-power) approach since...umm...forever. In fact that was the first actual successful application of the transistor back in the 1950s!

    (and low-power-chip was Transmeta's claim to fame too)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Frank, Dec 9th, 2004 @ 7:04am

    jet engines in batteries?

    From MIT's Technology Review magazine (couldn't find a free link to the entire article, but I read it and it's fascinating):
    D. Freedman. Technology Review, November 2004.
    Batteries are heavy and inconvenient. Their successors could be tiny jet engines that provide more than enough power for cell phones and PDAs. It's a jet engine shrunk to about the size of a coat button that sits on the corner of his desk. Alan Epstein, director of MIT's Gas Turbine Laboratory, has a jet engine shrunk to about the size of a coat button that sits on the corner of his desk and spins at more than a million revolutions per minute. It is designed to produce enough electricity to power handheld electronics.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 9th, 2004 @ 10:46am

    Re: jet engines in batteries?

    We've all had gyroscopes as kids, and I think we can point out one potential concern for these spinning turbine batteries.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    aNonMooseCowherd, Dec 9th, 2004 @ 7:34pm


    Put a crank on the device and let people use their own power to charge up the battery.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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