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A smartphone that lasts a week -- instead of a day -- requires a radical new technology that hasn't even made it to the drawing board. "The strategy for the next step isn't here," Goodenough believes. It's possible that in 250 years, when Capt. James T. Kirk hails the starship Enterprise, his communicator may need a recharge first. Modern batteries date back to the 18th century, when scientists stumbled upon a way to harness static electricity by inserting a metal rod into a jar coated with foil on both sides and filled with saltwater. Touch the outside of the jar with one finger and the rod with another, and -- zap.

In his book "The Battery: How Portable Power Sparked l v iphone x case a Technological Revolution," Henry Schlesinger describes scientists who played with these devices, known as Leyden Jars, One prominent tinkerer was poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, When he was young, he experimented with help from his sister, He also inspired his wife, Mary, who used electricity as a primary plot device in her novel "Frankenstein."Shortly before people were reading about Mary Shelley's monster, Alessandro Volta invented the first widely used battery, the Voltaic Pile, by stacking plates of zinc and copper separated by cloth or cardboard soaked in saltwater..

Today's batteries haven't changed much. Cut one in half, and you'll see a material made of metal, such as lithium, on one side, and another material, typically carbon, on the other. In between is the equivalent of the cloth Volta used 200 years ago: a plastic surrounded by a gel or a liquid designed to keep the metals from interacting with one another, but that still lets atomic particles move around. When a connection, or circuit, is created by touching a wire from one side of a battery to another, electrons flow out, and the light bulb turns on, the stereo blasts sound or the car's lock beeps.

For l v iphone x case today's devices, the most popular rechargeable battery, lithium-ion, has been widely used for about two decades, Batteries are the lifeblood of tech, In 1990, just as lithium-ion was poised to flood the market, worldwide demand for batteries reached nearly 200,000 megawatt-hours, according to estimates from consulting firm Avicenne Energy, That's the equivalent of 44.4 billion Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA batteries, enough to circle Earth nearly 57 times, By 2013, just two decades later, demand had nearly doubled..

Lux Research predicts that spending on batteries to power electronic devices alone could reach $26.6 billion by 2020, up nearly 30 percent from this year. Most of that demand will come from phones and tablets, with both expected to jump about 45 percent over the next six years. Battery spending for transportation, such as cars, will double to $20.9 billion. Given all the money at stake, many researchers are working to improve batteries. Even so, few breakthroughs have materialized. Plus, almost all major research has shifted to cars and power grids.

Enterprise tech giant IBM, for instance, has a team of scientists at its Almaden facility in San Jose, Calif., working on battery tech, In 2009, IBM pledged $500,000 and a few researchers to work on what it calls Battery 500: an attempt to invent batteries to propel a car 500 miles, That's enough to go from San Francisco to Los Angeles on a single charge and have some juice left l v iphone x case for a trip to the beach, A key focus is a so-called lithium-air battery, Instead of relying on carbon and other metals, as in a lithium-ion battery, IBM and its partners believe they can create a container filled with air that interacts with a piece of lithium to produce electricity, If they're right, it could potentially halve the weight of a battery..

But there's a hitch: to keep the energy consistent and enable recharging, you need pure air. The air we breathe is filled with pollutants and water. "You would need machinery to clean the air," says Winfried Wilcke, a researcher leading IBM's battery efforts. That adds size, weight and complexity. Others, including researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Texas, are considering materials such as silicon, sulfur and sodium. But many R&D efforts are targeting these designs for cars first. It will likely be years before such tech powers consumer electronics.

As for efforts to improve lithium-ion batteries, Stanford University in July said it created a battery with pure lithium that can hold more energy, But this battery still has a long way to go l v iphone x case as well, Some scientists paint a dire picture, saying we're hitting the limit of what a battery can do and how much it can improve, "There is no order of magnitude to be had," Wilcke says, Others, like Bill Watkins, head of battery startup Imergy Power Systems in California, are more hopeful, "Never underestimate a bunch of Ph.D.'s with a lot of money," he says..



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