Year after year, smartphone customers are presented with a plethora of improvements to choose from like hardware design and computing capacity (read our iPhone 7 rumor round up here). While smartphone brands continue to differentiate their product offerings, their phones all share one common feature: a very short battery life (here's a list of the most powerful phones currently on the market). How is it that we’re able to professionally edit photos and videos, trade stocks, and have a voice assistant in a compact phone, yet we constantly have to deal with the hassle of charging?
The lithium-ion batteries that power most smartphones have not seen large-scale innovation for the last ten years. These limitations are the same ones that plague many other notable industries like electric powered cars. A great example is Tesla Motors. Tesla has also invested nearly $5 billion into a Gigafactory that will help develop new changes to their batteries. While investment in the lithium-ion space will continue for years to come, we wanted to share some interesting ideas on what could very soon be powering your smartphones.
Scientists have found a way to harness energy from the friction between a wearable device and your skin. They were able to charge 12 LED light bulbs with a single touch of the skin. This means that soon our wearables will be able to charge themselves just from being near our body.
Japanese scientists are researching ways to create Ion batteries powered by sodium instead of lithium. Researchers claim that this battery would be seven times more efficient than the conventional lithium powered cell. Since salt is so abundant on earth, a shift to sodium would drastically reduce all costs associated with battery production. This also means cheaper smartphone prices. Similarly, this shift would guarantee a steady supply of power for years to come.
The last and perhaps most interesting potential new form of battery power is derived from sound. Researchers have been able to create a smartphone battery that can charge using ambient sound around it. Nanogenerators within the phone are able to harvest outside noise and turn it into an electric current. More notably, this battery most positively responded to the voices of normal people. This means that soon we will be able to charge our phones effortlessly on our commute to work.
Can you think of other ways to charge your phone?