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Friday, March 3, 2017

New Batteries for Higher Ed’s IoT

As more Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices find their way into higher education—whether as aids to student learning or components of campus infrastructure—the need will only increase for advanced batteries to keep them powered round-the-clock.

“Knowledge development, discovery, and sharing are not really on/off tasks that one starts and stops easily and often,” Pedro Ferreira, assistant professor of information systems, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, told EdTech: Focus on Higher Education. “We are constantly learning, and we need IoT devices on 24/7 to support that.”

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, discovered a way to prevent highly conductive but fragile nanowires in lithium-ion batteries from fracturing in the course of repeated charging and discharging, potentially increasing their lifespan significantly.

Many other universities are immersed in researching refinements or replacements for existing batteries. The Pocket-lint site outlined some of the most promising and interesting advances that are either already on the market or could be coming soon to a gadget near you, including:
  • The Bioo plant pot that generates a photosynthesis reaction to charge a device.
  • Copper-foam batteries that offer faster charging, longer life, smaller size, and lower price—all without any flammable electrolyte.
  • A Stanford University-developed aluminum graphite battery that can recharge a smartphone to full in only a minute.
  • A waterproof, foldable, paperlike battery that could be used for wearable devices or connected clothing.
  • Nanogenerators that can convert ambient noise into electrical current.
  • An MIT-created organic flow battery that uses quinone molecules—nearly identical to those found in rhubarb—and would save 97% per kilowatt hour over metal batteries without sacrificing efficiency.

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