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Category: Science & Technology

The Future of the Battery

Renewable energy continues its technological march. New developments in solar panels grab headlines almost daily, and energy conversion rates increase regularly – but there is a limit to what we can do with solar panels until battery technology improves as well.

Sadly, batteries have remained relatively unchanged for decades, but that’s all about to change.

The Battery Bottleneck

Consider the size of your phone. It doesn’t matter if you have the latest and greatest smartphone, an old flip phone or something in between. The battery remains the largest component within, thus dictating the overall size, weight and thickness of any mobile device.

An iPhone might just be the most advanced mobile technology – all crammed into a millimeters-thick brick. But if you were to crack it open, you’d see a minuscule circuit board next to a comparatively massive battery.

And it’s gotta be that big because we need all that juice to run those trillions upon trillions of calculations every day. Who knew swiping through Tinder or flicking down your for-you page on TikTok required so much energy?

But, what if a battery’s energy capacity wasn’t so directly tied to the battery’s size?

What if the battery became the smallest component in your phone? And what if there was an energy-dense battery capable of running your entire house at night?

We may be seeing that mystical-sounding battery sooner than you might think…

The Slow, Sad Death of Google Glass

Sarah Slocum just wanted to go out for a drink after work with friends. Slocum, a San Francisco-based tech writer and proud Google Glass owner, soon realized not everyone is terribly receptive to a wearable computer-and-camera attached to a stranger’s face.

An evening that might have started with not-so-polite requests for her to remove her face computer, quickly devolved into an uncomfortable confrontation. As you can see from the video Slocum recorded from her device:

Slocum is a member of a small demographic that has since been labeled glassholes. Becoming a glasshole is a Google-acknowledged problem with Glass owners. Google’s own documents define a glasshole as a creepy or rude person who does not respect the wishes of others with regards to the use of Glass. “Respect others’ privacy and if they have questions about Glass don’t get snappy,” requests Google.

Fault may rest on both parties at that San Francisco bar, but there’s an inherent irony in Slocum’s altercation. As the angry bar patrons attempted to rip the device from Slocum’s face for her supposedly recording video without their consent, multiple wall-mounted security cameras silently captured the conflict.

This irony may be the underlying reason why Google Glass is now dying a slow death.

Heads Up! Smartphone Use Linked to Occipital Neuralgia

Next time you find yourself walking along a bustling city street, take a moment to look around at the other pedestrians, and sneak a peek at the motorists waiting for the light to change. You will see, perhaps unsurprisingly, a large number of heads tilted down with faces glowing from the light of their smartphones.

An ambling public mindlessly isolated in a personal digital companion might have made a fine sci-fi plot just a decade ago. Unfortunately, this is now our reality. We have become so willfully and constantly distracted. And the dangers of this distraction are well-studied, with warnings issued. Unfortunately, what is less publicized is the damage we are unwittingly administering on our own necks.

Give a Damn About Space: An Argument

We may have just found a new home! The recent discovery of seven Earth-like planets orbiting a nearby star is the latest in a series of space-based revelations that’s grabbed the social consciousness.

And this makes me ecstatic!

From an early age, I’ve looked to the heavens and wondered what might be out there. In the fourth grade, I attended Space Camp. I was a member of the Junior Astronauts in grade school. I built and launched model rockets and calculated the cosmic math to determine my true astrological sign!

And while pop culture now accepts my passion into the good graces of the masses, my young interest in space was routinely mocked. Luckily, as we march towards the future, I recognize I’m not alone in my love of that song softly calling to us from above.