When the world follows a trend of modernism and comfort, Indians are no less behind. It’s a week of innovation and celebration. It’s the week long celebration of novelty at Intel science fair. Uniqueness was predominant at the MIT entrepreneurship competition.
Charging your cell phone is still very inconvenient as it takes a brisk 20 minutes to a full hour. Imagine a radical charger that will do the job in less than 30 seconds. 18 year old Indian American student, Eesha Khare of Saratoga, California proposed solving the problem using a super charger that fits into your mobile phone’s battery, potentially charging your cell phone in less than 20 seconds. Infact, did demonstrate it by building a tiny super capacitor and expressed its capability to power an LED device. This innovation fetched her Young Scientist Award by the Intel Foundation and a cool sum of USD 50,000 for this minuscule device. Moreover, it also grabbed the attention of tech giant Google to make a bid.
The swift growth of consumer electronics demands the development of efficient energy storage devices that offer high current density and longer cycle life. According to Khare, her device can last for 10,000 charge-recharge cycles, compared with 1,000 cycles for conventional rechargeable batteries. Since the gadget has been tested on LED, it has a good ability to run cell phones and other portable electronic devices flooding the market. The super capacitor device is also flexible anticipating its application in rollup displays and fabric.
Well, that’s not the end of the story. Technology has its own margins. This super capacitor device has high self-discharge; higher than most batteries. It holds less energy per volume per weight than any other battery technology. A super capacitor cannot be just connected across a battery as the battery will see it as a short in the first few microseconds, or even a milisecond or two of charging the capacitor from the battery. This could blow up the leads, or set them on fire depending on how big the super capacitor is. The circuit will need some resistive limiting until the super capacitor has charged. Apart from its shortcomings, this miniature charging device has tremendous applications in the field of electronics. Its can altogether change the face of charging a domestic device. Will this supercharger act as a revolution in consumer electronics or will it be another sheep among the herd of battery technology? That’s the question for now. But for the moment, India at work.