July 29, 2003

Needed: Bigger Laptop Batteries

At every conference I've been to in the past year, I've seen this happen at least once: Somebody gets up in the middle of a presentation and heads out for coffee, and then trips over a laptop cord as he makes his way toward the back of the room. He (or she) stumbles--perhaps falls. A laptop lurches toward the edge of the table--and, twice in my sight, falls off with a sickening crunch to the (hopefully carpeted) floor.

Bigger and better laptop batteries are clearly a high priority...

Posted by DeLong at July 29, 2003 04:02 PM | TrackBack


Clearly, for such circumstances, someone needs to find a way to harness the power of boredom and use it to run laptops.

Posted by: Jon H on July 29, 2003 05:31 PM

Actually, lower-power-usage equipment (especially the CPU, but also the hard drives, backlight, LCD, etc.) is probably overall a better solution than more battery. Even if the CPU has to be slower to last longer, this would be fine, as most of the time your CPU is idle, anyways.

Laptops are one area where RISC is a definitive win over CISC, because of the power issue.

Posted by: Eric Eisenhart on July 29, 2003 06:07 PM

Exactly! I don't need a faster processor or more memory. What I really would like in a laptap is:

1) A 10-hr battery
2) Something light (0.5 to 1 kg ?) enough where I could just leave it in my knapsack without worrying about the extra weight I have to carry around

But I want a full keyboard !

Posted by: Andrew Boucher on July 29, 2003 09:56 PM

Toshiba Announces World’s First Small Form Factor Direct Methanol Fuel Cell for Portable PCs

Main Specifications

Product Methanol fuel cell directly connected to the PC
Output Average 12W
Maximum 20W
Voltage 11V
Size 275 x 75 x 40mm (825cc)
Weight 900g
Operating hours Approximately five hours with 50cc, and 10 hours with 100cc, of high concentration methanol fuel
Cartridge weight 120g (100cc), 72g (50cc) (Approximate)
Cartridge size 100cc: 50 x 65 x 35mm 50cc: 33x 65 x35mm
Fuel Methanol

(Not yet released)

Posted by: rdb on July 30, 2003 12:09 AM

Sigh. Batteries and thermonuclear fusion are the two prototypical 'Sherwood' technologies-- it 'sure would' be nice if they worked...

Posted by: Matt on July 30, 2003 04:20 AM

"Sigh. Batteries and thermonuclear fusion are the two prototypical 'Sherwood' technologies-- it 'sure would' be nice if they worked..."

As posted by rdb, fuel cells ALREADY work. The only present barrier is miniature fuel cell cost. Within 10 years, there will probably be at least as many fuel cells sold with laptops as batteries:



The advantage of a fuel cell is that when your methanol cartridge runs out, you just pop in a new one, for a couple more hours of operation. Fuel cartridges have much more energy per unit weight than batteries.

Posted by: Mark Bahner on July 30, 2003 09:06 AM

Better positioned electrical outlets would help, too. Conference tables with built-in outlets exist. The assumption that everything that needs power is preferentially located by a wall is clearly obsolete.

Posted by: jam on July 30, 2003 07:03 PM

What the world *clearly* needs is nuclear isomerism batteries that store kilotons of energy per kilogram by exciting tantalum nuclei into their extremely long-lived metastable state.

Posted by: Rich on July 31, 2003 02:03 AM
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