18-year old wins award for invention that could charge a smartphone in 30 seconds or less [VIDEO]


Eesha Khare

With semiconductor manufacturers pushing, not only the speed of our mobile devices with every new iteration, but their battery life as well, many Android users today are finally comfortably enjoying more than a full day’s usage from our smartphones and tablets. Still, there are a few YouTube addicts, game-oholics, or other heavy users that are still able to make short work of just about any sized battery. The problem with our current lithium ion batteries isn’t just their size (which has been growing larger to match bigger devices), it’s also how long they take to charge (especially in a pinch).

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could play Need for Speed until your battery was completely dead, find a power outlet, then fully charge your Nexus 5 in 30 seconds flat? Well, that future is looking a little bit more like reality after Eesha Khare — an 18 year old high-school student from Saratoga, California — created an energy storage project that won her the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award of $50,000 at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair.

Eesha developed a tiny supercapcitor that is small enough to fit inside a cellphone battery and charge it fully within 30 seconds. What’s more is her tiny supercapcitor is capable of lasting 10,000 recharge cycles (as opposed to 1,000 in standard lithium ion batteries), and can easily fold, bend, or roll up, while still retaining its “electro chemical properties.” Besides just smartphones and tablets, this technology could also be applied to even higher capacity batteries like those found in automobiles.

It’s clear that with HD streaming, console quality games, and bigger HD displays, something needs to be done to make our devices more power efficient. Where we often think throwing more mAh’s at a device is the only solution, charging them quickly is a factor many of us may have overlooked. My question for you is, due to the nature of superconductors, would you accept shorter overall battery life if your device was able to fully charge in 30 seconds? Or do you find that an hour to 2+ hours charge time is acceptable if your battery can take you throughout an entire day?

[MSN News]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Fantastic! Congratulations, Eesha!

  2. Wow, that’s impressive. Congratulations.

  3. And how is the self discharge rate?

    Supercaps are neat, but they have a lot of downsides to be solved. Fast charging is not the biggest issue. Still better than anything I did at 18.

    1. I think the point is that the capacitor would discharge anyway. So you wouldn’t be worried about natural time drainage. Maybe the capacitor is meant to charge a battery and power the device leading to long use life fast charging and long life while idle.

      1. From the caps I’ve seen, they don’t hold a charge worth a sh!t for very long.

    2. If a 20 second charge give me a 1 hour life, i’m all in.

  4. she didnt invent it

  5. Is this graphene? The video and article doesn’t really explain what/how this is done. Graphene is 1 atom thick, flexible, can be made into a supercapacitor, and environmentally safe. Sounds a lot like her project and is already making lots of progress in Cambridge and other research facilities.

  6. I find connecting to a car battery charges a phone almost as fast. However, it also turns into an explosive.

  7. She said it was more affordable to manufacture. What that means is that Intel or whoever is gonna manufacture it for cheap, yet still jack the price to $800 per smartphone. Good for intel!!!

  8. Considering my battery lasts about 3 hours on my N4 as it is, I don’t see how it can get much shorter :-(

    I walk out the door every morning at 6 am, at 100%, and by the time I get to work at 8 am, I’m at 30% or less.

    1. You have one of those negative zone batteries. My E4GT was like that. I couldn’t get over 12 hours with 1 hour of screen time. And everyone around me with the same phone was getting double that easily.

      I think you just have a bad batch. My mom kept her screen on all the time because her power button had broke and she still had better battery life than me. Like WTF!?

      You may want to look at selling that and picking up another one. You should be getting WAY better battery life than that.

      1. It isn’t the phone/battery, it’s my usage pattern. Though I have the screen set to auto brightness, the entire 2 hours I’m commuting to/from work, I’m in and out of Ingress (mostly in), streaming Google Music, and usually on YouTube when I’m not in Ingress directly. My prior phone was a Galaxy Nexus and it has similar battery issues (on the same commute, go figure!)

        1. I think the only phone that I have that had a decent with my type of usage (ours is alike) was the Note2….

        2. Ingress? That’s your problem, right there.

          With it’s busy graphics plus constant pinging of both GPS and game servers, Ingress gives your phone a very tough workout. The effect is a bit like running Google Maps Navigation, streaming Pandora *and* initiating a series of phone calls, all at the same time.

          Tho’ results can vary somewhat with cell-signal quality, in my case the typical Ingress session reduces expected battery life by half…or more. Even when hooked up to a high-capacity 2A external supply, my phone’s battery drains faster than its being charged.

          1. Oh I know it’s Ingress – not to mention I have Google Music streaming stuff in the background on top of it. 2 hours, 23 minutes this morning, to go from 100% to 18%, Ingress going nearly the whole time.

            Like I said, it’s me…

    2. Ever thought of getting a charger for the car ? Well unless you take public transportation.

      1. Which I do :-)

    3. I also have a N4 take off charge at 6:30am, I use bluetooth to stream audio for 1.5 hours a day. Sync Exchange and Gmail, medium to light usage during the day mostly email/browsing. run cyanogenmod nightlies and when i put it on the charger around 10:30pm I still always have above 30%. I think there may be a issue with your battery.

  9. Not knowing squat about the tech of BATTERIES 101,sooooo….gotta ask a question in response to this question in the article :
    Why couldn’t we have both long battery life & quick charge capabilities?

  10. Wow. I just realized that I am dumb.

  11. Even if it does fully charge in 30 seconds, it’s worthless to me if it only lasts for a two hours after a charge. I had rather have a slower charging battery that can withstand heavy use all day.

    1. My thoughts exactly

  12. No I don’t. WAIT!! I have an external battery charger. I can keep this around and just plop and play. But then I would NEED to keep it in my pocket or something and not leave it in my backpack. Hmm… I like the 2 hour charge better.

    I mean and the 10,000 cycles is gilded. It may look nice, but you’d be charging it like 10 times a day as opposed once or twice. So it’ll probably still equal about the same time as a lithium battery.

    I don’t think the average consumer would like this. Also, how does it fair when leaving your phone connected to the charger? Do you HAVE to take it off when it’s finished? Like the nickel based batteries? LoL!! Talk about old school.

  13. Great now plop into a case so you can charge your phone with it. Super Cap have discharge issues. But I would totally use this in an airport connect my SuperCap pack to an outlet for 30 secs than let it charge my phone over the next 2 hours.

  14. There were many tech advances in batteries within the past two years, and I can’t wait to see battery tech like this develop and improve and to be on our smartphone in the next few years. I seriously doubt it’ll make it to be on the Nexus 5 though.

  15. This is either a dumb question, or pure genius: why not have both? Put the super capacitor in the phone alongside the lithium ion battery, charge the super capacitor very quickly, and have it transfer its charge to the lithium ion battery in the background. I know that won’t produce 100% efficiency, but it could be a good middle ground.

    1. Like a cache battery? Thanks for the free idea. Now excuse me, while I go make millions with this free idea.

      1. Hey, if it gets me a faster, longer lasting charge for my phone, you’re welcome.

        1. I’m broke, there’s no way I can take an idea like that, and turn it onto a product :) But on a side note, the reason battery technology has ZERO innovation, is because there isn’t any competition.

    2. From reading the article above, I think that’s exactly what the premise is. A capacitor can store charge much more quickly than a battery. All it would then have to do is use its natural drainage to charge the battery itself. The keys will simply be keeping heat in check on the capacitor, and making the capacitor small enough to fit inside the battery packaging while still having enough capacity to fully charge the battery. This young lady looks to have solved the size/capacity part.

    3. I’m not certain, but I think all the reporting is making the same mistake:

      Eesha developed a tiny supercapcitor that is small enough to fit inside a
      cellphone battery and charge it fully within 30 seconds.

      I don’t think the supercapacitor goes inside the battery; I think the wording was supposed to be the supercapacitor will go inside the same battery compartment that we now use.

      So, unless I’m wrong, Eesha has developed a capacitor that can replace the batteries we currently use.

      Edit: My suspicion seems confirmed. This has just been poor science/journalism being passed on and on.

      From Eesha’s abstract ( ):

      This project successfully designed, synthesized and characterized a novel nanorod electrode supercapacitor with increased energy density while retaining power density and long cycle life. This work is an important initial step in introducing this new electrode material in supercapacitors to replace conventional batteries in flexible electronic devices.

      [emphasis mine]

      So, this is a battery replacement. The problems with capacitors having bad long-term storage, raised by other commenters here, remains unaddressed at the moment.

  16. OH SH…TT she is a woman, she might be able to be so much dumb to sell that patent to Apple. And all the other manufacturers will be fuck..d thanks to her. Because women love iPhones.

    1. *facepalm* Maybe you should go buy Apple too.

      1. I don’t think his mommy would allow him to use a credit card yet

    2. I can’t understand your stupidity through all this blatant sexism.

    3. So what did you come up with when you were 18?

  17. she’s hot. I’d give it to her.

  18. Always nice to see the young have a interest in science. This is what makes America great, if the adults cant solve something today our youth will tomorrow. The future is bright

  19. This is most definitely awesome news, but I’m not naive enough to think this will be in smartphones in the next 2-3yrs, I really don’t think it will.
    Sure would be nice though.

  20. I have not read/watched the video. However, I know a bit about Super Capacitors have benefits and downsides. If she has solved more of the downsides (discharge rate, cost, low power density) and kept the upsides (rapid charging, rapid discharging, lightweight) then it will be very interesting to see what this brings going forward.

  21. From the Department of Redundancy Department:

    “…or other heavy users that are still able to make short work of just about any sized battery in a small amount of time.”

    1. Ha! Good catch :p

      1. :p

  22. This plus wireless charging with charge stations in public locations would make me very happy.

  23. Forget phones, could this be adapted to electric cars?

    1. AMEN!!!!

    2. Then we could just drive through a pit lane like in F-Zero and charge our cars up on the road. I <3 the future.

  24. Smart girl, brilliant stuff, this could be used in so many different ways. I hope she patterned her idea.

    1. Since it isn’t hers, sha can’t patent it.

      1. any improvement on top of existing technology can be patented. That’s how you get a better TV every year. Amazing isn’t it? lol

    2. She did pattern it…she patterned it after technology that already exists…lmao!!

  25. She’s amazing…the tech is ‘amazing’. And large billion dollar corporations couldn’t figure it out?

    1. Exactly…Things that make you go hmmmm indeed…..

    2. Nope, she didn’t invented this technology. It was invented by Dr. Yat Li a year ago.

  26. i think i just gave up on life, and ppl think i’m a nerd

  27. With real innovation like this, Im sure she wont be working for that fruit company. No if she had created a battery out of glass we would be talking another story.

  28. watch apple try to patent this!

  29. hurry up apple patent this. claim it yours and put it to good use.

  30. I wanna patent her, rowwwr……

  31. Ahhm, guys, you should’ve read the comments in the YouTube video.

    This technology wasn’t invented by her, it was invented by Dr. Yat Li a year ago, the paper is called: “Hydrogenated TiO2 Nanotube Arrays for Supercapacitors”.

    She basically did a chemistry experiment on work that has already been done and published.

    1. I thought you meant the official comments. A comment by some random idiot on YouTube cant be considered as anything but an opinion. For all I know, you made that comment.

    2. the method used here in it’s application and delivery is her invention.

      should we then throw out or look upon with cyclical eyes the work being done by experimental physicists? after all a majority of their work is building upon the works and theories of other people that have come before them…anytime there’s a breakthrough should we just go “meh, nothing special…wasn’t your work to begin with”…

  32. Why not both?

  33. well done girl..

  34. Very good and congratulations Eesha, hopefully companies won’t move at a snail pace to make this better and apply it to batteries….all type of batteries especially automobiles batteries….

  35. Rhis would be great. I wouldn’t mind shorter battery life if it could charge up faster. I’d most likely have a second regular battery for when I go on vacation etc.

  36. to believe that my greatest accomplishment recently was making a ham, egg and cheese sandwich…. :/

  37. I’m guessing she’s not a very good cook, so she had no choice but to invent something.

  38. I would rather have a battery that will last longer than one that charges quickly but only lasts one tenth the time. I say this because if I see my battery is starting to get low I can tunr off data and other items to increase my time till charge. But with a battery that last’s one tenth the time I would be forced to be at a charging port all day and that just doesn’t happen all the time.

    I ride horses and there is no outlets around out in the middle of nowhere LOL give me the longer lasting battery!

  39. When is Sam Clemens going to invent the battacitor?

  40. That is amazing!

  41. Wait a minute I smell a sham job here. What does Mother and Dad do?
    You just whip up a semiconductor in the kitchen? Something smells here.
    Found it :
    Sham, I don’t feel so dumb now.

  42. I was expecting removable battery technology. (Likely something Apple could could never implement.)

  43. So both her parents worked in the semiconductor field? I thought if your parents help you’re disqualified.

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