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Posted on Tuesday, June 24, 2003 @ 12:32:05 GMT by vlad

Science Anonymous writes: BYE-BYE TO BATTERIES Jun 19 2003

By Steve Atkinson

TINY engines far smaller than a fingernail will replace batteries in mobiles and laptops within six years, experts said yesterday.

One of the pioneers behind the new breakthrough added: "We are looking at an industrial revolution happening in people's pockets."

All it will need to keep the machines going is a shot of lighter fuel every two years. Experts are hailing the nanotechnology achievements, which have led to the production of an engine measuring 6mm by 4mm that can create 700 times more energy than a battery.

It could mean the end of the household battery whose history dates back to the 1700s, when Italian Alessandro Volta's experiments first produced electric currents at Pavia University.

The new micro-engine means gadgets won't need recharging but will be far more powerful. Instead of plugging in mobiles, users will simply refuel the engine once in a while.

Dr Kyle Jiang, part of the Birmingham University team that developed the micro-device, predicted that it would have a huge impact on society.

He said: "We have engines in cars and planes, but no one has put them into small devices - yet. Why should we rely on using inadequate stored energy when we can produce it locally?"

Dr Jiang added that nearly all portable devices would be engine-powered before the end of the decade.

He added: "The breakthrough is an enormous step forward. Devices which need charging or new batteries can be a problem. In six years, they will be a thing of the past.

"We could even be installing micro-engines in pacemakers in the future. Now, recharging them is a great problem for doctors."




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