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IBM's Next 5 in 5 list predicts 5 technologies that will impact us in the next 5 years

IBM has announced its fifth annual Next Five in Five – a list of five technologies that the company believes “have the potential to change the way people work, live and play over the next five years.” While there are no flying cars or robot servants on the list, there are holographic friends, air-powered batteries, personal environmental sensors, customized commutes and building-heating computers.  Read More

Formerly unobserved increase in length and twist of the anode in a nanobattery (Image: DOE...

Because battery technology hasn’t developed as quickly as the electronic devices they power, a greater and greater percentage of the volume of these devices is taken up by the batteries needed to keep them running. Now a team of researchers working at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT) is claiming to have created the world’s smallest battery, and although the tiny battery won’t be powering next year’s mobile phones, it has already provided insights into how batteries work and should enable the development of smaller and more efficient batteries in the future.  Read More

SEM images of nickel-coated TMV arrays patterned using photolithography onto a silicon waf...

The first virus to be discovered was the Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) back in 1898. It is a rigid, rod-shaped virus that, under an electron microscope, looks like uncooked spaghetti. This widespread virus devastates tobacco, tomatoes, peppers and other plants, but engineers have managed to harness and exploit the self-replicating and self-renewing characteristics of TMV to build tiny components for more efficient lithium-ion batteries.  Read More

High surface area of graphene make supercapcitors possible

A breakthrough in supercapacitor performance has been achieved with the development of a device that can store as much energy as a battery while recharging in seconds. The graphene-based supercapacitor being developed in the U.S. by researchers at Nanotek Instruments can store as much energy per unit mass as nickel metal hydride batteries and could one day be used to help deliver almost instant charging to recharge mobile phones, digital cameras or micro electric vehicles.  Read More

The CARe 500 is an electric version of the Fiat 500, and is now available in Europe

Fiat recently announced that it will be manufacturing an electric version of its cute li’l 500 automobile for the North American market, starting in 2012. If you can’t wait that long, however, you can get one in Europe right now – you just won’t be buying it from Fiat. The Italian automaker gave Swedish company EV Adapt permission to buy the stock 500, swap out the combustion motor for an electric one, and then resell the car as an EV. Sold as the CARe 500, the vehicle is now available throughout Europe. In an interesting move, buyers have the option of purchasing a battery-less car for a reduced price, and then renting its battery pack.  Read More

A new planar sodium-nickel chloride battery could deliver 30 percent more power at lower t...

In the continuing search for ever more efficient and cheaper batteries, researchers at the Department of Energy’s (DoE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have managed to increase the performance of sodium-nickel chloride batteries in an interesting way – flattening them. No, not running them down until they’re out of juice, but rather replacing their typical cylindrical shape with a flat disc design. The redesign allows the battery to deliver 30 percent more power at lower temperatures, making them a viable alternative to lithium-ion batteries.  Read More

Tang in St Francis Bay, South Africa

Vehicles of the wheeled variety aren’t the only ones going green. U.S. companies International Battery and Electric Marine Propulsion (EMP) are partnering up to build a hybrid power train for the world’s largest plug-in, hybrid electric boats and yachts. The partnership has resulted in one of the world’s largest plug-in hybrid sailboats, a Tag 60 catamaran christened Tang, hitting the water on September 21. It is a 60 ft (18m) carbon-fiber speedster that can be powered by the wind, even when the wind isn’t blowing.  Read More

The 2011 Giant Twist ebike has a claimed maximum range of almost 100 miles

Remember when the Segway was launched in 2001? The company proclaimed that it was going to revolutionize personal transportation, but... well, although Segways are still around, they’re hardly a common sight. What could soon be a common sight, however, are electric bicycles. While a variety of styles were on display at this year’s Eurobike show, commuting ebikes were by far the most common. An electric drive makes sense on a commuter – you still get some exercise and don’t have to register it as a scooter, yet you also don’t arrive at your destination all hot and sweaty. As with all electric vehicles, however, range is always an issue. That is now being addressed, however, with ebikes that can travel up to 160 kilometers (99.4 miles) on one charge. If your commute is longer than that, you really might want to consider, you know... driving.  Read More

Sanyo is about to add some new additions to its eneloop universe series of portable power ...

Since introducing its eneloop rechargeable battery technology in 2005, Sanyo is reported to have shipped over 130 million cells. Now the company has announced some new additions to its eneloop universe series which provide a power boost to a host of mobile devices including Apple's iPad, Sony's Xperia smartphone and Nintendo's DS series portable gaming devices.  Read More

Soldiers' loads could be lightened by several pounds through the use of batteries that are...

Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created a virus in order to design rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that could be woven into clothing to power portable electronic devices. Not only could these batteries be incorporated into fabric, but they could also be poured or sprayed into containers of any size or shape, thus allowing the shells or other parts of devices to double as their power source. MIT believes such batteries would be particularly beneficial to soldiers, who commonly have to carry several pounds of batteries to run their various gizmos. This development is reminiscent of the University of California’s nanogenerator-enabled clothing that harnesses power from the wearer’s movements, and could perhaps even be combined with such technology.  Read More

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