Dyson, the British vacuum cleaner company that does £6 billion-plus in annual revenue, is investing £10 million in a new type of battery that could double smartphone battery life, MIT Technology Review reports. The technology has been developed by a startup called Sakti3, an off-shoot from the University of Michigan.
MIT Technology Review explains that its lithium-ion battery uses new materials and has moved on from a conventional liquid electrolyte around today. The new batteries rely on “solid-state” technology, which can store twice as much energy as today’s batteries and could be used in smartphones, tablets, cars, and even devices such as solar panels and wind turbines. Solid-state batteries work with solid lithium electrodes (electrical nonmetallic conductors), rather than the mix of liquid chemicals currently used in most phone batteries. The technology is safer, and cheaper to manufacture, too.
People can be strangely passionate about battery life. A recent poll shows that a majority of iPhone users would prefer a thicker phone if it meant they could go longer without having to find a power source. Battery size and longevity are linked — the bigger the battery, the more power it can store.
Current lithium-ion batteries haven’t really changed since they were introduced by Sony in 1991, the Guardian reports, and charging times and longevity haven’t kept up with smartphone improvements.
“Sakiti3 has achieved leaps in performance which current battery technology simply can’t,” James Dyson said. His company employs 2,000 scientists and engineers. It has a $US2 billion fund to help grow design, research, and development in the industry. Dyson often works in collaboration with universities and through the Dyson Robotics Laboratory is working on a robot vacuum cleaner with Imperial College London.
Satki3 batteries will be first be used in Dyson’s products, which include powerful cordless vacuum cleaners, fans, and hand dryers.
Satki3 has also obtained investments from General Motors and Khosla Ventures, Venturebeat says. So far, the startup has gathered more than £35 million in funding.