I’m excited about an advancement in battery design, and it takes a lot to impress me these days. Ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll tell you this is true. Since I got involved with electronics as a teenager I’ve been chasing the dream of advanced technology which could propel human kind into space like in the science fiction movies and TV series I grew up watching. This is one reason I got involved with computer technology back in 1990. Unfortunately, I perceive that our economic framework can sometimes keep the keys which unlock doors of discovery, breakthroughs and advancement hidden away in it’s bottom line.
The very companies capable of doing great things can’t afford to waste time researching and making stuff simply for the good of humanity, rather they need to make products that in turn make money or have a potential to generate profit. Nothing wrong with the economic model of motivation except there probably won’t be any advertisement free Utopian lifestyle headed our way in the near future. But, thanks to a company called Ionic Materials in Woburn, MA and it’s CEO and Founder, Mike Zimmerman Ph.D we’ll finally have some freaken’ batteries in our mainstream devices that won’t kill us by exploding or catching fire. And that’s a good thing for humanity no matter what the motivation 🙂
Anyone who uses portable power tools, a digital camera, new cell phone, tablet, laptop, drone, RC car or any one of a myriad of other battery power things should be familiar with the name of the most popular, hottest, and energy dense battery available for consumer devices right now, lithium ion. No, I didn’t accidentally use the term “hottest” to describe this technology as this battery type is known to catch fire under certain circumstances. Just navigate on over to youtube and search for “lithium ion battery fire” to see people poking, crushing, sticking and jabbing at them to show just how easy it is to cause a short and have one catch fire.
Need I mention the latest debacle with Samsung Note 7 phones which were reportedly bursting into flames due to the lithium ion batteries inside? And, don’t forget all those so called hover board toys ( WITH WHEELS! ), that also experienced horrible failures with the battery. Well, I hold an optimistic view now that those failures will soon be nothing more than a passage in our history of technological advancements.
Here’s a direct quote from the Ionic Materials website:
“Consumer electronics, such as smart phones, laptops, digital cameras, wearable devices, etc., require increasing power to function efficiently and safely. However, lithium ion batteries, known for their use of volatile liquid electrolytes, are common in most of these devices, and these devices are in constant need of charging and recharging.
These devices are susceptible to fires and explosions if accidents occur, such as dropping them or using the wrong charger. Also, slight manufacturing defects such as impurities or non-optimum assembly can make them susceptible to shorts which can lead to fires and explosions. Ionic Materials’ polymer technology can overcome these issues with safer and longer-lasting batteries that can be packaged in new and creative ways to drive more satisfying and innovative user experiences.“
Mike from Ionic Materials has come up with a new design that replaces the flammable electrolyte used in all those mass produced lithium ion batteries with a flame retardant solid plastic. Rather than try and describe how significant and important this is PBS can show you:
No doubt this company will be invested in heavily or outright purchased by one of the big players in the battery market now that they have officially announced there work on Public Television. I’d invest if I had a few extra hundreds of thousands of dollars lying around 🙁
Either way I can’t wait for new solid state batteries to make there way into our stuff! However, I’m still waiting for those flying cars, the ones we were supposed to have decades ago. And, I want a real hover board like in the classic movie Back To The Future not a battery powered skateboard.