We live in a world of constantly-connected smartphones. Except when your phone runs out of power, you don't have a charging cable or power adapter handy, and you're cut off from your Facebook and Twitter and email. StoreDot is a technology startup, based in Israel, that has a prototype device that can charge a phone's battery completely in half a minute.
Born of R&D at Tel Aviv University, the StoreDot battery charger is based on biological semiconductors — short chains of amino acids, the peptides that recently got Australia's top atheletes in hot water. The organic linking of these amino acids stores energy; one application for the technology is in making batteries that can be charged from completely out of juice to full power in an incredibly short period.
Don't expect to see this battery charging technology down at your local mobile phone kiosk any time soon, though. StoreDot says the tech is at least a couple of years from commercialisation and mainstream production; it could start to enter the market in late 2016. At the moment, the StoreDot cell is much bulkier than a regular Galaxy S4 battery, and its charger is about the size of a laptop brick; the next step in development is to slim everything down.
It's not exactly clear what effect such a speedy charging rate has on the longevity of the battery — a long, slow trickle charge is generally more beneficial for lithium-ion battery health than an all-out rush to full power, for example — but StoreDot's prototype cell apparently doesn't have this issue due to its unique chemical composition. When it makes its way to the mainstream, smartphone battery anxiety just might become a thing of the past. Until then, there's always chunky battery boosters. [Wall Street Journal]