24 Jun Jumpstarting the commercialization of lithium-ion technology
CHICAGO – Lithium-Ion technology can be used on a more personal level. It is becoming more well-known that Lithium-Ion technology is being used for next-generation cars but there are applications on a more personal level which the average consumer may be able to use in powering their phones as well as their cameras.
The JUMPSTART product from DigiPower (http://www.digipowersolutions.com/store/product_info.php/cPath/254/products_id/688 ) is based on Lithium-Ion technology and is used to help recharge cellular phones, PDAs and smart phones. DigiPower has a whole family of charger products that include ones for digital cameras as well as phones.
I was sent a JumpStart travel charger to review. They include many possible adapter plug-ins to charge up various phones and devices. It is a two ounce rechargeable unit that also has an AC adapter.
Unlike the batteries being designed for use in a car, this is a battery that the average person can use today on a daily basis for consumer devices.
Eliminate Call Evaporation
The need for having a battery pack like this is when you are away for an extended period of time from any AC power supply. How many times have you been out in a remote place camping, cycling or on a boat when you get into a long call and the battery runs down to nothing?
How many times have you been on an important call and you hear those beeps in your ear signaling you that your battery is about to run out? Running out of battery always comes at the wrong time and it is frustrating to have to wait until you can get to another phone or get to plug in your phone to an energy source.
This has happened more than once to me and as more time is being spent not just on calls but on other search applications, you need a longer-lasting battery.
There was a lawsuit about ten years ago where four people drowned off of Kenosha in a boat that lost all power. Their radio did not work and the only thing left was a cellular phone with little battery left. If they had had a device like this, they could have stayed in contact with the Coast Guard and would have gotten rescued.
Having something simple and small as a two-ounce back-up power source makes a lot of sense. With more people moving to smart phones like iPhone 3Gs, Samsung Omnias, and BlackBerry Curves, the need for back-up power is becoming just as critical for those devices as it is for PCs.
Having a device that is more versatile than just a phone for voice calls means you are going to be using it a lot more. Doing searches online, reading articles, and just gaming around means using up more power.
Competitors are starting to re-design their products to compete as lithium-ion technology becomes more commercialized.
IDX has introduced a line of lithium-ion batteries geared toward HD cameras (http://www.studiodaily.com/hdstudio/production/11009.html ). Again, the use of lithium-ion technology to provide a longer-lasting power supply is the latest for HD cameras including one of their products, the E-HL9, where you can link two batteries together giving even more capacity.
The idea of linking batteries together goes back to central office technology at the phone companies where you would link many batteries together to provide power to a central office. Those batteries were the size of a mini-refrigerator and weighed over 200 pounds apiece. You could have a roomful of 100 of these batteries linked together. The idea was to provide a long-lasting solid stream of power.
As more people use smart phones for more applications which demand longer capacity and cameras demand more power for longer shoots, batteries have to be re-designed to provide a longer charge. This is happening with lithium-ion batteries. As more of these applications become uncovered, the more variations will start to be introduced by battery manufacturers.
Now, that concept has been miniaturized to apply to handheld devices. If you can link two together today, what will be the configuration for products down the road? Will there be more powerful single batteries or small ones that can be daisy-chained to increase capacity? Will next-generation devices use a 4, 8, or 16-link battery back-up system? What about devices like lawnmowers and snow blowers?
It looks like Lithium-Ion technology has many applications and the more creative we are in applying it, the more versatility will be engineered into next-generation products from several industries.
Carlinism:Running out of power always seems to happen at the wrong time.
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James Carlini is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, and is president of Carlini & Associates. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-370-1888. Check out his blog at carliniscomments.com.
This column previously appeared in MidwestBusiness.com, and was reprinted with its permission.
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC.