According to reports this weekend, the latest problem being tackled by Google X, the company’s lab, is batteries.
The progress related to battery efficiency is not as fast es we might expected, despite the increasing demand for exra power in our everyday lives. Batteries remain a headache for scientists and engineers, who often struggle to ensure that their new high end device will remain active a bit longer after running a power-demanding task. Improved battery efficiency and storage capacity would have a huge impact on everything from solar energy farms to the smartphone you have in your pocket.
The Wall Street Journal says that a small team over Google's labs has been tasked with studying the potential of solid-state and lithium-ion batteries for the future.
Emerging battery technologies promise bigger gains. Solid-state, thin-film batteries transmit a current across a solid, rather than liquid, making them smaller and safer. Such batteries can be produced in thin, flexible layers, useful for small mobile devices. But it isn’t clear whether they can be mass produced cheaply.
Google's group is trying to advance current lithium-ion technology and the cutting-edge solid-state batteries for consumer devices, such as Glass and Google’s glucose-measuring contact lens, according to the people familiar with the matter.
Google has made no official comment on the report in the WSJ, but it’s reassuring to know the company is on the case.
Earlier this week, scientists at Stanford University unveiled an aluminum battery that can be fully charged in a minute, though the overall battery life is the same as the packs in today’s smartphones.