April 8, 2014
Bio-Organic Technology Could Charge Smartphone Batteries In 30 Seconds
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Good news for anyone who’s tired of waiting over an hour for their smartphones to charge: an Israeli startup is said to be working on a new bio-organic battery capable of fully powering up a mobile device in just 30 seconds.According to Edwin Kee of Ubergizmo, the company’s name is StoreDot and they first unveiled their charging technology during Microsoft’s Think Next Conference in Tel Aviv. During a demonstration, the device charged a nearly powerless Samsung Galaxy S4 in just half a minute rather than the hours currently required to power up handsets.
The device uses quantum dot technology, and while it is currently just a prototype and is currently too large to fit inside a phone, TechCrunch’s Natasha Lomas writes that StoreDot hopes to have it on the market within three years. Currently, the firm has raised $6.25 million, and Samsung is reportedly among its investors.
“We are about one year from a functional prototype that will be inside the device,” StoreDot founder and CEO Dr. Doron Myersdorf told TechCrunch on Monday. “Right now we show a battery that extends beyond the form factor of the smartphone. So in one year we’ll have reached the size, and in two years we’ll reach the required energy density for the entire day. So we are talking about three years for a commercial ready device.”
Surprisingly, the charging technology is an offshoot of Alzheimer’s research being conducted at Tel Aviv University. That research helped identify the peptides or amino acids that will be used to construct the semiconductors, reports CNET technology columnist Don Reisinger. When linked together, peptides create proteins, and they are also used for skin care.
Myersdorf explained to Lomas that they can manage the self-assembly process of the molecules to create nanocrystals – stable spheres that are 2.1 nanometers in diameter. Furthermore, the robust spheres have special properties that can be used in a semiconductor or a battery, allowing the researchers to create new types of materials which can be introduced into a variety of different technological devices.
Originally, StoreDot intended to use the nanocrystals to create memory chips that could write faster than traditional flash memory, and the company has also demonstrated an image sensor built using the technology. However, it has since shifted its focus to fast-charging smartphone batteries and cadmium-free displays that are cheaper and nontoxic – two industry niches that will allow them to commercialize the technology faster, Lomas said.
“We’ve demonstrated an iPhone display that the active material which emits light is a bio-organic material that is created by our compounds. This will be the first ever bio-organic display,” Myersdorf said. “We already demonstrated all the colors… we can bring the entire RGB spectrum for the display so now it’s all a matter of being able to reach the lifetime and the efficiency similar to cadmium.”
The challenge, the CEO noted, will be convincing an industry to move away from their established production methods and try using the new, potentially cheaper and less toxic materials and processes to create their devices. StoreDot could consider building their own manufacturing center to get their products to market sooner.
“The only disadvantage is that the industry is not ready for it. The ecosystem is not ready,” Myersdorf told Lomas. “This is a new type of material, with new physics, new chemistry, that is actually coming from nature… Everything we do we try to imitate and to follow and to let nature take its course. To create these nano-crystals we don’t need a huge fabrication facility. We mix some basic elements – like hydrogen, nitrogen, helium.”
“Our challenge is not only stabilizing our own material but to change the entire ecosystem around the manufacturing of semi-conductor and batteries in order to be able to accommodate bio-organic material,” he added. “If we invest in our own facility we can make the batteries in a very short cycle. If we need to teach someone else how to change their facility it might take too long – so it’s better to build this from scratch instead of to modify an existing facility.”