Friday, June 09, 2006

Great Things Build Upon Original Ideas

So, it may be true that original ideas are rare, but original ideas may always be built upon...

As our portable devices get more high-tech, the batteries that power them can seem to lag behind. But Joel Schindall and his team at M.I.T. plan to make long charge times and expensive replacements a thing of the past--by improving on technology from the past.

They turned to the capacitor, which was invented nearly 300 years ago. Schindall explains, "We made the connection that perhaps we could take an old product, a capacitor, and use a new technology, nanotechnology, to make that old product in a new way."

The plan is to increase the surface area of a capacitor using nanotubes. This allows the capacitor to store more energy. The capacitor based batteries recharge quickly and are less prone to weakening even after hundreds of thousands of recharges. Read the article. It also mentions targeted uses of these new batteries.

This technology has broad practical possibilities, affecting any device that requires a battery. Schindall says, "Small devices such as hearing aids that could be more quickly recharged where the batteries wouldn't wear out; up to larger devices such as automobiles where you could regeneratively re-use the energy of motion and therefore improve the energy efficiency and fuel economy."

Are you taking notes, yet?

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