A team out of the Fraunhhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC in Germany has announced a major technical advance that could render battery fires a thing of the past. The key is the replacement of inflammable organic electrolytes with a "non-flammable polymer that retains its shape." What that translates to for laptop owners is a whole lot less battery-related paranoia.
There is a prototype of ISC's new battery, but it is not going to be around for this generation of laptops; three to five years is the time frame that is expected for ISC to address some capacity and efficiency issues. Not that I would be surprised if it comes about sooner, as there will be some big names lining up to get behind this technology. Hopefully, flaming batteries like those that sparked the 10 million battery recall in 2006 will soon be relegated to history. [Ars Technica]