Power/Performance Bits: Oct. 22


Flexible battery Researchers at ETH Zurich developed a flexible thin-film battery that can be bent, stretched, and twisted without interrupting the supply of power. Key to the battery is a new electrolyte and entirely flexible components. "To date, no one has employed exclusively flexible components as systematically as we have in creating a lithium-ion battery," said Markus Niederberger, P... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Oct. 1


Nighttime power Researchers at UCLA and Stanford University created a low-cost device that harnesses radiative cooling to provide a small amount of renewable energy at night. While the device only provides a small amount of power, it could be useful for areas without reliable electricity or access to batteries. Radiative cooling happens when a surface that faces the sky emits heat as therma... » read more

Scaling Battery Technology


Batteries are an essential ingredient for the growth of electronics from small devices used for IoT as well as large batteries for electric cars. Historically, battery energy density improves 5%-8% per year. While this is much slower than the historical improvements from Moore’s Law, it’s still the kind of growth that can result in leaps in efficiency, opening the door for a better experien... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Sept. 17


Silicon thermoelectrics Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas and Texas Instruments developed a new method for thermoelectric generation that could be used with electronics to convert waste heat into reusable energy. "In a general sense, waste heat is everywhere: the heat your car engine generates, for example," said Mark Lee, professor and head of the Department of Physics at UT... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Aug. 13


Smartphone virus scanner Scientists at the University of Tokyo built a new type of virus scanner for smartphones: to detect diseases, not malware. The handheld, portable device uses a smartphone to help scan biological samples for influenza virus. The virus scanner is about the size of a brick, with a slot to position a smartphone such that its camera looks through a lens. Inside the device... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: July 30


100GHz transceiver Engineers at the University of California Irvine built a new wireless transceiver that works above 100 gigahertz. The 4.4-millimeter-square silicon chip, called an "end-to-end transmitter-receiver," uses a digital-analog architecture that modulates the digital bits in the analog and radio-frequency domains to process digital signals quickly and energy-efficiently. "We cal... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: July 3


2D straintronics Researchers at the University of Rochester and Xi’an Jiaotong University dug into how 2D materials behave when stretched to push the boundaries of what they can do. "We're opening up a new direction of study," says Stephen Wu, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and physics at Rochester. "There's a huge number of 2D materials with different properti... » read more

The Limits Of Energy Harvesting


Energy harvesting, once considered an inexpensive alternative to low-power design and a way of achieving nearly unlimited power in mobile devices, has settled down to more modest expectations. This approach to generating energy through a variety of means—from solar to motion to ambient RF and even pH differences between soil and trees—has been proven to work. The problem is that it doesn... » read more

Make Your Own Energy


Regenerative braking and other forms of energy capture are becoming more popular and increasingly effective. What started as a way of increasing the range of electric or hybrid vehicles is now being applied to everything from green buildings to industrial robots. The automotive industry is still the main driver of this technology. The idea that braking can generate energy has been around for... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Feb. 19


Flexible energy harvesting rectenna Researchers from MIT, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, University Carlos III of Madrid, Boston University, University of Southern California, and the Army Research Laboratory created a flexible rectenna capable of converting energy from Wi-Fi signals into electricity to power small devices and sensors. The device uses a flexible RF antenna to capture e... » read more

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