Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Batteries

Prof. Som Mitra (left) invented a flexible battery with assistance from Zhiqian Wang, a do...

Scientists at the New Jersey Institute of Technology have joined the ranks of those from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Stanford University and LG, by creating prototype flexible batteries. Designed for use in electronic devices with flexible displays, they could conceivably be manufactured in any size or shape, or even made at home.  Read More

A newly developed silicon supercapacitor could allow for the seamless integration of energ...

A team of researchers at the Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee has designed a supercapacitor made primarily of silicon that has shown much improved power density over its commercially available alternatives. The advance could allow for interesting integration of battery technology in everyday electronics, from solar cells to smartphones.  Read More

Carbon fiber composite panels infused with nano-batteries and super capacitors could repla...

For automobile manufacturers, the electric elephant in the room continues to be bulky and weighty battery packs. This week, Volvo unveiled an innovative potential solution to the problem that it has been working on for the past three and a half years with other European partners; replace steel body panels with carbon fiber composite panels infused with nano-batteries and super capacitors.  Read More

Battheads would allow any device using them to be controlled via a smartphone

There are already a wide variety of devices that can be turned on and off by your smartphone, although they typically need to be Wi-Fi- or Bluetooth-enabled. The makers of Batthead, however, have taken another approach. They're creating Bluetooth-controlled batteries, that will allow any ol' device using them to be powered up or down via your phone.  Read More

Vitamilk's 'Dead batteries for Dead Batteries' charging wall

Thai soymilk company Vitamilk has rolled out a rather interesting advertising vehicle in the form of a large signboard that takes "dead" batteries and squeezes enough extra power out of them to charge smartphones.  Read More

The Estrima Birò now comes with the option of a battery that can be removed and pulled alo...

Along with the ever-persistent problem of range anxiety, one of the things that keeps many people from taking electric cars seriously is the limited number of charging stations. What happens if your destination doesn't have one, or if you have to park your car out on the street when you're at home? In the case of some electric scooters and bicycles, users can remove the vehicle's battery and take it with them to charge indoors. Now, Italian automaker Estrima is offering that same feature in its Birò electric car.  Read More

New research examines the economics of storing energy from renewable sources (Photo: Shutt...

True or false: solar and wind power are freely available and clean, and thus should always be stored when they generate more energy than the grid can use? It's easy to assume that renewable energy should never be turned off, but scientists at Stanford have done the math to find the break-even point where storing energy is better than "wasting," or curtailing, that energy, and their findings aren't necessarily as you'd think.  Read More

Two ambient backscatter test devices are able to communicate, despite having no batteries ...

In order for the Internet of Things to become a reality, devices will need to be able to communicate with the internet and with one another. If they have to be powered up in order to so, however, a lot of electricity is going to be wasted. That’s where a new technology known as “ambient backscatter” comes into the picture. Developed by engineers at the University of Washington, it uses ever-present existing TV and cellular signals to provide the power and medium for battery-less communications.  Read More

A phone running OpenSignal's WeatherSignal app

Smartphone batteries contain tiny temperature sensors, designed to keep the phone from overheating. While those sensors do measure the heat generated within the phone, their readings are also affected by the temperature of the phone’s external environment. With that in mind, British app developer OpenSignal has created a system that allows multiple users’ phones to provide real-time, location-specific weather reports.  Read More

Monash University researchers have created a compact electrode that uses a liquid electrol...

Graphene-based supercapacitors have already proven the equal of conventional supercapacitors – in the lab. But now researchers at Melbourne’s Monash University claim to have developed of a new scalable and cost-effective technique to engineer graphene-based supercapacitors that brings them a step closer to commercial development.  Read More

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