Anyone who has traveled through our nation’s airports is well aware of how problematic it may be to find a charging station for your smartphone or other device, and if you do manage to find one, there is often a fee attached. This problem is compounded for those of us who fly coach where there are even fewer options available to charge the failing batteries in our smartphone or other devices on the plane itself. In fact, we often find that the device we were counting on to help pass the time became DOA as soon as we boarded the plane. However, I know that the serious road warrior (or sky warrior), would come prepared by carrying extra batteries with them, but this can be impractical for those of us who carry more than one device.
Knowing how frustrating this is to travelers as well as others who are dependent on their device for business or entertainment, the folks at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and MTL (Microsystems Technology Laboratory) have taken steps to produce a new product, called Silicon Power Cell. This product, approximately the size of a thick cell phone, is really a little portable fuel cell that produces a whopping amount of juice. Using butane as its fuel, this device is actually the size of a cigarette lighter and has the advantage of allowing the fuel to be replaced by the user.
One of the features that make this fuel cell so attractive is that it will charge any device that uses a USB port. That means that this tiny fuel cell will charge any and all of your portable toys no matter where you are. An added bonus is that the company claims that it has already received approval from the FAA to use the device on commercial flights.
While in the development stage, Lilliputian concentrated on the development, testing, and other aspects of its technology; the company has since built a manufacturing facility and this little lifesaver is already being beta tested by select customers. For those of you looking for an investment, you should know that the company has already signed agreements to market its fuel cell under the name USB Mobile Power.
Lilliputian’s portable fuel cell can deliver between 10 to 14 full charges for an iPhone. (Credit: Lilliputian Systems)
In fact, a recent news release announces that the company has formed a partnership with Brookstone to market, promote, distribute, and sell the new devices once they become available. The future goal is to eventually make these fuel cell devices available at airports and malls around the country as well as introduce a power unit that will fuel the cells that charge the units.
So how will this new power cell change the way we live and communicate with one another?
- It will eliminate the need to spend time looking and/or searching for a free electrical outlet.
- It will eliminate the frustration of running out of power mid-day.
- It will eliminate the need to carry multiple chargers to accommodate all of your smartphones, tablets, and more.
- It’s compact.
What we don’t know:
- How much this unit is going to cost.
- How much the refill cartridges are going to cost.
- When the units will be released for purchase.
When these new power cells hit the street, one can’t help but see how beneficial they will be as they free us from our need to find electrical outlets in order to stay in contact with one another. The power cells will also allow us to stay connected for longer periods of time and provide a means to keep all of our electronic devices fully charged.
CC licensed Flickr photo at the top of the page shared by flyzor