This New Battery Alternative Could Charge Your Phone in Seconds

Published On 11/22/2016 Published On 11/22/2016

Although life is constantly made easier by your smartphone, one glaring caveat is your device’s dwindling battery. As we’ve repeatedly noted, your phone’s lifespan is often precarious, but scientists are tackling this issue head on, developing battery alternatives that could basically make your iPhone immortal.

One great example is a new development from the University of Central Florida, where researchers are on the cusp of creating new technology that could charge your phone in just a matter of seconds. By replacing a traditional phone battery with hyper-flexible supercapacitors, smartphones could very well be entering a bold new frontier.

“If they were to replace the batteries with these supercapacitors, you could charge your mobile phone in a few seconds and you wouldn’t need to charge it again for over a week,” Nitin Choudhary, a postdoctoral researcher, told UCF’s student newspaper.

Supercapacitors aren’t magic, although they are complex. In a simplistic sense, the tiny, powerful batteries store an immense amount of energy per unit, and transfer energy at a mesmerizing clip. They’re also far more durable, and can tolerate much more wear and tear than the lithium-ion batteries that power your iPhone 7. Researchers have occasionally encountered problems trying to integrate the tech into a small enough framework that could power a consumer device, but still, the prospects are exciting.

The UCF team claims its supercapacitors can allow a device to withstand 30,000 charges before exhibiting signs of stress. Compare that with the 1,500 charges your current smartphone can withstand before its battery life starts to plummet, and it starts to sound like a revolution.

What’s more, the researchers are looking for a patent.

Eric Jung, an assistant professor at UCF, said of the product: “It’s not ready for commercialization...“but this is a proof-of-concept demonstration, and our studies show there are very high impacts for many technologies.”

So in other words, fear not your phone’s crappy battery, because it may be a thing of the past in the next couple years.

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Sam Blum is a News Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's also a martial arts and music nerd who appreciates a fine sandwich and cute dogs. Find his clips in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and Vice. He's on Twitter @Blumnessmonster.