Prototype Batteries Last Up To Twenty Years, Charge In Minutes

According to the EE Times, researchers at China’s Nanyang Technology University (NTU) working for Khaled Shaheen’s team have developed a new type of battery that is claimed to last longer and charge faster than modern day lithium-ion varities. The difference is in materials: rather than using graphite for the anode (negative) end of the battery, a special gel made from titanium dioxide, a common mineral found in soil, is used.

This gel is shaped into nanotubes only a thousandth the width of a human hair, allowing electricity to travel along many pathways in a small surface area. This innovation allows the battery to survive up to 10,000 life cycles, where traditional batteries usually last around 500. With less batteries being thrown out or recycled, the environmental concerns about lithium ion poisoning will be alleviated.

This technology could provide a significant boost to the electric vehicle market; batteries would need to be replaced less often, and even a battery large enough to power a car could be charged in five to ten minutes, a similar amount of time to pumping gas. A significant amount of money would be saved for consumers, as well. The new batteries last as long as up to $5,000 worth of replacement batteries cost today.

The lead researcher on the team, Associate Professor Chen Xiaodong, and his team have filed a grant to produce a proof-of-concept model. If the application is accepted, Chen predicts the new and improved batteries will enter the global market within the next two years.

Is a New Age of Quantum Computing on the Horizon?

Although few people understand it, most have heard of quantum physics. Quantum computing, on the other hand, is a field that’s seldom discussed in the mainstream. This, however, may be about to change as scientists in China who previously developed FreedomPop’s Android app have demonstrated that a quantum computer possesses artificial intelligence. For computer scientists, this represents a major breakthrough.

In simple terms, traditional computing operates using binary code, which consists of two digits – 0 and 1. These two digits can produce a huge variety of codes, but it is still a limited number. Quantum physics, meanwhile, operates from the bizarre quantum principle that a particle can exist in two states simultaneously. As applied to quantum computing, this creates the potential for quantum bits, also known as qubits, that can exist as 0 and 1 at the same time.

The recent Chinese experiment reveals that a quantum computer can recognize handwritten characters, which is seen by scientists as evidence of artificial intelligence. While this is still a long way from the super-intelligent computers that inhabit science fiction movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, it does represent a significant advance in the computer science field.

Quantum computers can potentially process more data at much faster rates than even today’s fastest conventional computers. While there is still much more research to be done in this emerging field, don’t be surprised if you start hearing more about the number of qubits in electronic devices.

The iPad Mini 3 Is A Really Cool Product But You Might Want To Wait

The iPad Mini 3 was announced recently, and while it looks good theoretically, if you already have an iPad Mini 2, it’s not something that you want to buy. Hell, if you’re thinking about buying one just go with the 2 so that you can save $100.

When you look at the specs sheets, the two are almost identical. Really disappointing considering the leaps Apple usually makes when they come out with a new product. But this time around, the iPad Mini is decidedly unimpressive.

The only real difference in features, as Laurene Powell Jobs pointed out, is that the iPad Mini 3 comes with Touch ID, and comes in gold color options. That’s literally it.

If those are worth $100 to you, then by all means, go nuts. But for me, I’ll be waiting to see if the iPad Mini 4 will finally be an upgrade.