In this new wireless world, our lives are powered by batteries. From the battery in a watch to the batteries in an electric car, the ability to efficiently store energy is crucial to the development of new technology. The life of a battery impacts everything from global economics, to the environment, to simple things like how we interact with each other. As technology evolves, from things we carry to things that carry us, the reliability, power, and ubiquitousness of batteries is only going to become increasingly important.
Current cutting-edge technology showcases the two extreme edges of our dependence on batteries. On one side, we have Tesla, the electric supercar. Tesla’s have an advertised range of 240-270 miles without needing a recharge. Tesla batteries can be charged in “minutes, instead of hours” using a Tesla Supercharger, a high-powered charging station popping up in more and more places across the country. This technology is very high end, with an accompanying price tag to match. Research continues in battery lifespan and power, and as the cost of electric vehicles become more affordable, battery lifespan will have a positive effect on our environment and our dependence on fossil fuels.
At the other end of the spectrum are smartwatches. Tiny computers which are small enough to strap on our wrists, but big enough to house a complete computer and a touch screen interface. The Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Gear, and the Motorola Moto 360 are examples of small, wearable technology that will become more and more commonplace as time goes on. Each of these devices must include a significant amount of space in the case for a battery, and even the best of them requires charging each day. Advances in the life span of small batteries should allow the watch and other wearable devices to become more useful as time goes on. In the near future, the charge on these devices will eventually become long enough that we no longer think about the charge unless alerted. Once that timespan becomes more than a week or so, the technology will become nearly invisible, seamlessly integrating into our everyday lives.
What You Can Do
Of course, our habits in using these devices can make a big difference in current battery life. A few things can be done to extend the lifespan of the batteries in the devices you may own such as:
- Make sure your device is running the latest software,
- Power down unnecessary auxiliary devices
- Dim the screen
- Avoid exposing the device to extreme temperatures
- Simply allow the battery to discharge on a regular basis
All these tips are helpful ways to prolong the useful lifespan of today’s devices.
Most mobile devices today are powered by Lithium-Ion (Li-ion) batteries. A good rule of thumb for a Li-ion battery is that it should last for approximately 1000 complete charges. As technology advances, both the number of charges and the time between charges should increase. Eventually, the batteries we think so much about today should fade into the background, invisibly powering the things we use every day.