Why in this world of modern technology wonders are we still dependent on batteries? Just now I was taking a picture of my new kitten doing something particularly funny and cute when my camera said "battery exhausted". (I need to read the manual to learn how to recharge it). The other night I was driving home down a winding mountain road when my pump which was in my bra at the time beeped at me. Fortunately it was a dark mountain road so I could pull over and just take it out to look. It was telling me my battery needed replacing.
I mean really, it seems kind of low tech to me! I've read a lot of science fiction over the years which predicted many of the wonders we actually use today; nobody ever had to stop to change batteries!
Compared to other areas of technological progress, our progress on batteries has been dismal. Here is an article looking at the progress in things like computational power density, display density and batteries. Batteries have made little relative progress.
Very interesting article, Brian, thanks. (at least the parts I could understand!) It is interesting how some aspects of our culture remain at a lower tech level while others zoom by at exponential rates.
battery exhausted-i love personification!
LOL...didn't even catch that one. But I already have way too much compassion for inanimate objects, don't need to feel I'm driving my batteries too hard! The camera battery is now enjoying a two hour nap in the charger...wonder where I put my human recharger?
Yes, it's a big problem...so far there has been no magic invention to improve energy storage. Battery progress has been very slow, as Brian points out.
There are some other technologies - for example, there is Apple filed a patent on a fuel-cell powered laptop. It might run for days at a time, but then you would refuel it with liquid or gaseous fuel, much like an old-fashioned lighter. That has its own set of problems.
Slow progress in battery technology is also impeding the progress of electric cars.
I think in the end the machines will use carbon based critters like us for the batteries...Medtronic built nuclear pacemakers that would run longer than the recipient so when the person expired the undertaker had to ship the pacemaker back to Las Alamos to recover the nuclear stuff which was technically just on loan. I'm sure we are not ready
for that kind of power.