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Scientists demonstrate 'paint-on' batteries

By dpreview staff on Jun 30, 2012 at 01:16 GMT

Scientists in Texas have demonstrated a way of 'painting' rechargeable lithium-ion batteries onto surfaces, greatly expanding the potential for future development of portable electronics. The team, from Rice University, has succeeded in painting batteries onto a range of different surfaces, including common household objects, with 'no surface conditioning'. The batteries are made up of five layers measuring just 0.5mm thick in total and, according to the scientists that developed the technology, can be fabricated using conventional spray-painting equipment and techniques.

This diagram shows a conventional lithium-ion battery on the left, and on the right, a multilayer 'paintable' battery fabricated by spraying the different layers directly onto a target surface. Anode and cathode layers are separated by a specially-developed polymer (image: creative commons via nature.com).

This development - batteries that can be sprayed onto any surface, to follow any contour - has obvious potential for the next generation of portable devices, including tablet computers, smartphones and cameras. The creators of the technology also envisage painted batteries being paired with solar cells, with the potential to create 'standalone energy capture-storage hybrid devices in different configurations'.

You can read more about this new technology at BBC online and you can see the original report at nature.com.

'Spray-on' batteries: our opinion

The movement away from fixed cylindrical or cuboid form-factors for rechargeable batteries makes sense for a number of reasons. Most importantly it gives designers more freedom when creating new electronic devices, by removing the need to 'design around' a large, plastic-encased battery. Instead, the battery can be shaped around - or indeed sprayed onto - the inside surface of the device that it will be powering. The downside, of course, is that at present, rechargeable batteries have a lifespan considerably shorter than the devices that they're designed to power. 

How much longer before a camera's battery and memory is built into the device itself? A 'paintable' battery could be sprayed inside a camera's casing, allowing for more efficient use of interior space, and potentially much more ergonomic designs. 

Already, tablet computers like Apple's iPad and some portable computers are shipping with non user-replaceable batteries glued into the inside of their cases (the iPad's battery accounts for almost a quarter of its total weight). This isn't just a cynical ploy by manufacturers to prevent you from replacing their battery with a cheap third-party alternative, or force you to upgrade to a new model once the battery dies. Non-replaceable batteries with a more flexible form-factor allow their host devices to be slimmer and structurally stronger, and the space inside them to be used more efficiently.

There will probably always be a demand for replaceable batteries in some types of camera, but we would be surprised if 'unibody' designs didn't become more common in photographic hardware, as well as smartphones and tablets, in the years to come.

What do you think? Is this a good thing? Let us know in the comments.

Comments

Total comments: 108
12
Dan Tong
By Dan Tong (11 months ago)

I will rarely or never buy any product with a non-replaceable battery if a similar alternative product exists, unless the battery life is likely to be longer than the entire product.

0 upvotes
iamachair
By iamachair (Jul 7, 2012)

If a painted-on battery were sprayed onto a replaceable component that was part of the form-factor, that would be a win-win situation for all. Instead of having this huge hallow space (I'm thinking my Canon 7D), use a slender plastic insert. Maybe the hand-grip, which at present is just a ridge, can double as a specially designed replaceable, painted-on battery enclosure.

Another possibility is the lens cap, although it would need a special tether line to the camera.

Finally, with a little creativity, the bottom of the camera could become a thin battery slab that exactly matches the width and depth of the camera's bottom. There are probably even more possibilities that would still allow for swapping batteries. (I know when i go out for a full-day shoot, I always have backup batteries ready for my use.)

1 upvote
SvenD
By SvenD (Jul 6, 2012)

It would be very cool if designers were be able to come up with a replacable battery ring around lenses to give your body extra power for an extra couple of hundred shots. With this kind of technology that should really be possible.

0 upvotes
Michael Uschold
By Michael Uschold (Jul 2, 2012)

The technology gives designers an option, it is not handcuffs. It does not require you do use it in a particular way. Most of the commenters seem to assume it is impossible to use the paint-on battery technology to make a rechargable-replaceable battery - what is that assumption based on? If that assumption is false, then you can still get the advantages of having the battery be any shape you want., which still frees up designers. Hopefully it would remove weight, but I saw nothing stated about that.

0 upvotes
wkay
By wkay (Jul 2, 2012)

just a lab curiousity at thie point. No comments on charge/storage/discharge characteristics, reliability, lifetime, economics, etc. Does the writer really think a sprayed battery has anywhere near the capacity of a much larger discrete tattery? How long did the LED's on the cup stay lit? A few seconds? This thing probably little better than a conventional capacitor.

0 upvotes
newsshooterjim
By newsshooterjim (Jul 2, 2012)

This puts a pretty good amount of energy right out on the surface. What happens if something penetrates the layers, causing a short?

To me, this is one more way to force users to purchase a new product every so often. I absolutely am not in favor of this, and would avoid buying one like the plague.

1 upvote
rrr_hhh
By rrr_hhh (Jul 2, 2012)

I think it is absolutely anti ecological in its concept : what when the battery is at the end of its life ? Thrw it away, with heavy metal components (those of the battery) polluting the environment at a higher rate, becase they will be more difficult to separate from the body of the camera.

Frankly such discoveries are a disservice to the society. Research should be made with sustainable development in mind. And making gear more disposable than they already are is not going in that direction, rather the opposite.

2 upvotes
Michael Uschold
By Michael Uschold (Jul 2, 2012)

You raise an important point. The discovery is not a disservice to society, but how we use it could be. I strongly support things being sustainable.

1 upvote
adrian mctiernan
By adrian mctiernan (Jul 5, 2012)

The current mad use of one-use batteries is an insanity far worse than spray on batteries, surely?

I needed some emergency AAA batteries, bought 10 standard ones in a pack, and found them useless - they powered for about 4 hours. I then had to dump them. They cost £1. I could have bought rechargeables at 2 for a £, and used them for 4 years, up to about 1000 recharges, which saves a load of money. The waste of materials if I used throwaway ones permanently is staggering, some 22,000 tons, of varying poisonousness at this time per year in the UK alone. I welcome careful use of spray batteries, if the power output and stamina is up to it, and we can find the right chemistry.

1 upvote
pappygti
By pappygti (Jul 5, 2012)

Extreme assumption don't ya think? If we are making up stories, here's mine. The battery will be sprayed on the surface area of a tab-like plate about the size of a pack of matches that is hardwired into the rest of the camera body. Once the device is no longer of any use, either broke, dead or just time for an upgrade, the green consumer will return the camera to an electronics recycle center (just as we ALL currently do). The center will open the camera, remove the battery plate and recycle accordingly. What a nightmare!

0 upvotes
Michele Kappa
By Michele Kappa (Jul 2, 2012)

I also agree with many commenters about the uselessness of a non-replaceable battery.
Although this would possibly favor a hybrid: low capacity non-replaceable battery (such as this sprayed one) in tandem with a replaceable high capacity hot-swap battery.
So, in practice, the replaceable battery runs out of juice, he fixed battery kicks in letting you swap the replaceable one on the fly.
Never run out of juice, never switch off the camera, et voila! :)

3 upvotes
dopravopat
By dopravopat (Jul 2, 2012)

OK, find yourself shooting a Wedding and suddenly the camera reports "low battery". DUH! You cannot replace it, the camera has to be plugged in for 30 minutes to a charger. Horrible.

0 upvotes
pappygti
By pappygti (Jul 2, 2012)

This technology would not apply to "wedding shooting" cameras. DUH! Try tablets, smart phones and ultra-portable P&S cameras. As for the technology of it...I'm all about it as long as the batteries hold ample mAh. Every one is complaining about losing the luxury of replacing their batteries. I think people are upset about the idea of it more than anything. I mean come on...how many times have you replaced the battery in you phone? Me...never. If it gets to that point it usually means your due for an upgrade...which would probably be cheaper than replacing the battery to your now prehistoric phone. As for those people that keep their phones for 5+ years, welcome to the machine. I'd love to still be using my ultra-long-lasting typewriter but... My friends phones have non-replaceable batteries in their smart phones. How many times have you replaced your iPod or iPhone battery? That's what I thought. Boom!

0 upvotes
MarcMedios
By MarcMedios (Jul 2, 2012)

There are so many more things in life than DSLR's, think about all these products: mini-flashlights (for restaurants, for emergencies); emergency radios; motion detectors in halls to turn on and off lights as people walk so as to save energy; really thin thermostats; RF transmitters in pens (or wifi transmitters) with a little lens to serve as a mini scanner... I mean, the possibilities are endless

0 upvotes
pappygti
By pappygti (Jul 5, 2012)

You are absolutely correct Marc but I think the responses revolve around DSLR's, tablets, smart phones and such because of the site content...Digital Photography Review. Now from a general technology perspective, you are right...the possibilities ARE endless.

0 upvotes
Debankur Mukherjee
By Debankur Mukherjee (Jul 2, 2012)

This tech can mainly be used in portable devices..........

0 upvotes
Button Pusher
By Button Pusher (Jul 2, 2012)

Horrible idea. We need smaller batteries that store as much energy as today's batteries and/or the same size batteries that charge at a much faster rate - not irreplacable batteries for electronic devices that will be guaranteed to fail for good in a limited amount of time because they will not be able to be charged again.

0 upvotes
s_grins
By s_grins (Jul 2, 2012)

"Spray-on" batteries could give a boost to energy pump into.

Comment edited 16 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Mike_PEAT
By Mike_PEAT (Jul 1, 2012)

We don't want non-replaceable batteries in our cameras (or computers for that matter). It's bad enough now that Apple is doing that with their laptops...the battery dies mid-trip and what do I do?

In the old days I'd just swap batteries with my spare fully charged one...now I have to drag around a useless boat anchor until I can plug it in for several hours.

Imagine a camera dying mid-shoot...now I just swap batteries and continue shooting. Same goes for non-replaceable memory cards. NO THANK YOU!

3 upvotes
lbuclk=
By lbuclk= (Jul 2, 2012)

Agreed n/t.

0 upvotes
CedricL1984
By CedricL1984 (Jul 2, 2012)

an ipad\iphone charger is not that big...

0 upvotes
dopravopat
By dopravopat (Jul 2, 2012)

Btw. that is one of the main reasons why I would NEVER ever buy an iPhone.

0 upvotes
plastique2
By plastique2 (Jul 1, 2012)

Truth be told - new cameras are less and less ergonomic in their design. They are smaller and smaller, that's true, but they are getting harder and harder to be held in one's hand for longer than 30 seconds. And I'm not talking about 100 dollar compact cameras. For example the Olympus PEN cameras. Very good cameras, for somebody's taste maybe even chic - but compared to the E-System a pain in the hand. All they need is big bulky grip on the right side - and there you can put a big battery, and replace it when necessary. But given the problems of global economy where everybody has already almost everything - manufacturers need to find ways to sell you something of high-tech value which will soon after the purchase give up it's spirit in a high-tech manner for high-tech reasons so everybody will say wooowww, I'll have to have another one, that's soooo coool ;)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Esa Tuunanen
By Esa Tuunanen (Jul 2, 2012)

With human hand size staying same obsession to shrinking of size has indeed reached pure psychopathic level in cameras.
I'm completely fine with making lower end models small, especially those for P&S use, but models meant as tools for user to control should be build for maximizing ergonomics.

Which in built in EVF camera means also small enough display to leave space for thumb and good rear controls. Because of failure in that all m4/3, NEX and NX bodies all loose badly to almost decade old Minolta Dimage A1/A2.

But I guess that instead of actually working utilitarian tools everything is turned into fashion gimmicks so that they can be replaced periodically with changes of fashion!

0 upvotes
NancyP
By NancyP (Jul 3, 2012)

I guess that you don't remember the old Minox still cameras using 8mmx 11 mm film size (plus sprockets?)

0 upvotes
plastique2
By plastique2 (Jul 1, 2012)

In the case of many manufacturers like Apple - it is a ploy, cynical or not. I see this new technology as something interesting and usable for scientific devices, but a replaceable battery in a commercial device is for me the better, more ecological and more fair solution.

Comment edited 39 seconds after posting
1 upvote
mzillch
By mzillch (Jul 1, 2012)

Flat batteries have existed for a long time. [Remember Polaroid batteries contained in the film cartridge, ala SX70?] Applying by spray may be new, but so what? There has been no fundamental change in capacity per volume, and THAT is what would be revolutionary. There is absolutely no claim in this DPR blurb which suggests any increase in power per volume.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
bdkr65
By bdkr65 (Jul 1, 2012)

+1 on capacity v. volume not remarkable. Also important would be electrolyte containment with thermal expamnsion/constriction of the substrate upon which the battery was 'sprayed'.

While the Rice work is interesting, the true commercial applications might be limited unless the folks at DARPA envision it as a "Battery is dead, spray on another and connect" for in-field re-power or better yet, in-space repower, as the weight factor of transporting pre-manufactured batteries may become prohibiive should we ever make it off this rock we call home

Comment edited 16 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Gary Borba
By Gary Borba (Jul 1, 2012)

I can see the benefit of non-user-replaceable batteries for devices with a limited life or that are so cheap they are "disposable." If the manufacturers are going to use these batteries in something more permanent (and costly) then they might as well have a count-down timer that disables the device when it gets to zero so the consumer knows what they are getting with a non-replaceable battery.

2 upvotes
farrukh
By farrukh (Jul 1, 2012)

Fantastic innovation, I look forward to it's application in the upcoming years.

0 upvotes
mandm
By mandm (Jul 1, 2012)

Way back in the mid 1980's Olympus came out with a compact (compact by 1980's standards) 35mm camera with built in flash and a non user replaceable Lithium battery that they claimed would last for 10 years with normal use!!! It did not, many died after only 1 to 2 years, and most never made 5 years (I knew someone in Oly service).

0 upvotes
farrukh
By farrukh (Jul 1, 2012)

1-2 years without having to change a battery is quite an achievement!

0 upvotes
limlh
By limlh (Jul 1, 2012)

It's better that they rate battery on the number of recharging cycles. 4,000 would be a good number.

0 upvotes
Hawaii-geek
By Hawaii-geek (Jul 1, 2012)

My wife has an iPhone. I use a Galaxy S II. .and aways smile when she euns out of power. Because I bought an EXTRA Battery and portable charger. All I need to do is flip my battery , just like my DSLR. :)

2 upvotes
thomash2
By thomash2 (Jul 1, 2012)

I'm annoyed with devices without replacable batteries. I have a HTC desire phone which I use for gps tracking over several days and need a couple other batteries to get me through the days. newer HTC phones do not have replacable batteries and other products are going the same way.
I had a laptop battery died once but it was easy and cheap to buy a replacement. I wouldn't buy a laptop where i couldn't replace the battery myself. I wouldn't want to have to spend an extra $100 for someone else to do it for me if the laptop had to be disassembled for a custom installed battery.

2 upvotes
Yiotis
By Yiotis (Jul 1, 2012)

Buy a GPS, phones are for phone calls

1 upvote
Guy Swarbrick
By Guy Swarbrick (Jul 1, 2012)

> phones are for phone calls

How 20th Century...

0 upvotes
Yiotis
By Yiotis (Jul 1, 2012)

>> How gadget boy...

0 upvotes
plastique2
By plastique2 (Jul 1, 2012)

I totally agree.
The manufacturers though disagree strongly :(

0 upvotes
prasenjitpurohit
By prasenjitpurohit (Jul 2, 2012)

Phones are everything now a days... even it is your bank account too...

0 upvotes
udian9
By udian9 (Jul 1, 2012)

ideal for wearable electronic gadgets... portable USB chargers will pair as a must buy accessory... with technology least current hungry products with super conductors in use ....'Spray-on' batteries will be seen in most of our gadgets of 2moro...

0 upvotes
John Koch
By John Koch (Jun 30, 2012)

Paint-on photovoltaic batteries would be better if incorporated into house paint or roofing surfaces. Energy captured on a sunny day could provide home lighting at night. In areas with chilly, albeit not frigid nights, the energy could also warm water or rooms. This would not replace usual electrical sources, but (if economical) perhaps reduce the usual electric bill.

0 upvotes
prasenjitpurohit
By prasenjitpurohit (Jul 2, 2012)

Brilliant idea...

0 upvotes
Sean Nelson
By Sean Nelson (Jun 30, 2012)

I'm quite opposed to anything that would limit the life of the products I buy, and this is why I never buy equipment without user-replaceable batteries.

IMHO, the biggest battery advance doesn't require any breakthrough at all - just get all the electronics manufacturers to agree on a few standard form factors for Li-Ion batteries so I don't have to buy new batteries and chargers for every last freaking thing I own. Being able to share batteries would go a long, long way toward reducing battery purchases and the attendant disposal issues down the line.

But of course it would rob the manufacturers of one of their most lucrative sources of income, so I don't suppose I'll live to see it...

3 upvotes
John Koch
By John Koch (Jun 30, 2012)

Well, that's what comes with a "free market": producers colluding to restrict competition and jack up prices. The odd thing is that, since they can't make money off the cameras, which closely resemble eachother, and must compete with cell phones, they pursue differentiation of batteries, which is not what buyers want at all.

1 upvote
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Jun 30, 2012)

Often times product designers look for batteries that fit their designs instead of designing around a battery. There are pros and cons to both.

Also, who's to say the battery couldn't be molded on a replaceable portion of the camera body or a slim removeable card.

2 upvotes
T. L. Rutter
By T. L. Rutter (Jul 1, 2012)

For professional use, such as professional cameras and high-end computers for certain industries, I think there will always be replaceable batteries and other components. After all, camera manufacturers make more money by selling batteries and memory cards.

However, in the lower-end consumer spectrum I think you will find this fits the mold perfectly. After all, I have friends who have decent consumer camera models and I keep begging them to buy extra batteries but it is not their priority, they would just as soon run out of juice and when they do, it's "Oh well, time to put away the camera!" Sad, but true!

I would imagine there is an OVERWHELMING majority of casual (but not serious) photographers who would have 100% interest in a camera iwth an integrated battery that cannot be replaced, provided they follow the new ipad model in which it provides many hours of operations.

0 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Jul 1, 2012)

(Sean Nelson) Here here. When I argued against the move to SD cards years ago (noting that certain cameras were the same size even after going from CF to SD), while others thought it was a good idea based on the usage of SD cards by many devices, my reply was "well why isn't there the same push for a more universal sort of battery & charger? There are WAY more types of those than memory cards & you can't buy replacement batteries in the store as easily as you can memory cards."

Heck, I've noticed that in the realm of phones with respect to battery charging & connectivity, the micro-USB form factor is becoming universal. Even cheap Tracphone flip-phones use it. It's great. My SanDisk Sansa Clip uses a standard 5-pin USB mini for charging & file uploading (yes I know it also has a sealed-up battery, shoot me, ha ha). The more universal such things can be, the better.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
nicolas guilbert
By nicolas guilbert (Jul 1, 2012)

I don´t know if true, but heard that the universality of the micro-USB for phone charging is there now, because of pressure from the EU, that would not accept different chargers for each phone model to be approved anymore.

1 upvote
robmanueb
By robmanueb (Jul 1, 2012)

And lithium Ion rechargeable AA and AAA are not being produced. Which is a bit of con. Maybe with this spray on tech we might be able to make our own batteries.

0 upvotes
tkbslc
By tkbslc (Jun 30, 2012)

Nobody is going to suggest using this tech in a DSLR, because they are already big so there is room for a replaceable battery. But many of the ultracompacts could be more compact if they didn't need to have a battery door.

0 upvotes
JJJPhoto
By JJJPhoto (Jun 30, 2012)

I fully support the development of smaller, thinner batteries that deliver the same or greater charge within a smaller/thinner space. However, the idea of a camera with an integrated, non-removable battery is horsesh!#.

Many digital photographers keep snapping and snapping photos until the battery drains ... then they put another battery in the camera and keep snapping. The days of shutterbugs cautiously limiting their images to a handful of photos largely died with film. People aren't worried about 24 or 36 exposure limits or the cost of developing images ... they just keep shooting until they get bored.

I'd say that the OVERWHELMING majority of casual and serious photographers have ZERO interest in a camera with an integrated battery that cannot be replaced.

6 upvotes
duttadibakar
By duttadibakar (Jul 1, 2012)

Its true and moreover every battery has its its own life time after which it needs to be replaced... So with the integrated battery one has to replace the camera!!!!

1 upvote
AmaturFotografer
By AmaturFotografer (Jul 3, 2012)

All you need is a battery paint job, haha...

0 upvotes
Petrogel
By Petrogel (Jun 30, 2012)

Either carrying a cylindrical , cubic, polygonal batteries or energy spray cans, disposal will still be the issue. Apple's battery policy on MP3's (early 2000) costed the company a big amount of money and the 3rd party manufacturer (companies like Apple) trying to "protect" me from, might be the company's main battery supplier .......

0 upvotes
Model Mike
By Model Mike (Jun 30, 2012)

Clever, but what happens when the battery runs out and I want to pop in a spare? My DSLR would howl at being tethered to a mains socket for charging.

0 upvotes
Aleo Veuliah
By Aleo Veuliah (Jun 30, 2012)

Good idea but for small devices

1 upvote
penryn
By penryn (Jun 30, 2012)

Nice idea...
but which recycle bin do I put these things in when they have expired.

Another note. Like a hybrid car, where a new battery pack is worth more than the car, a used sprayon device has a questionable life span therefore is practically worthless.

0 upvotes
William Faulkner
By William Faulkner (Jun 30, 2012)

Spray my Roof, please!

0 upvotes
J Patagonia
By J Patagonia (Jun 30, 2012)

What about the environment? How do you dispose of these battery-devices once they no longer work?

1 upvote
D-Man67
By D-Man67 (Jun 30, 2012)

Combine this with Paintable Electronics (Spray-On Transistors)

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100401130338.htm

1 upvote
lylejk
By lylejk (Jun 30, 2012)

Agreed. Harry Potter/Minority Report (Back to the Future 2 for that matter) watch out. :)

1 upvote
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Jun 30, 2012)

All batteries without exception have their lifecycle. Thus, if you can't replace it, you have to buy another whatever-it's-been-sprayed-on.
Another thing, some of us have triple sets, because sometimes a single spare isn't enough. Sprayed-on technology should ensure at least ten times the conventional capacity to compete, and if the charge won't suffice for what you plan to do between charges, it'll be reason enough not to buy.
It will be interesting to see whether an incorporated battery, being non-removable, gets the same kind of warranty as the whole product it powers.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
locke_fc
By locke_fc (Jun 30, 2012)

F* k me! That's all I can say. Scientists and engineers do truly amazing stuff. I suppose there's a lot of development ahead before this goes mainstream, but I can see it used extensively.

0 upvotes
xianming
By xianming (Jun 30, 2012)

Thank you for sharing!
[img]http://www.nlmlol.info/g.gif[/img]

0 upvotes
Michael Engelen
By Michael Engelen (Jun 30, 2012)

That is truly a great idea for devices like cell phones and iPads. The battery could be in the back cover that could be replaced if needed-- that would make thinner devices and the backs could be recycled-- thumbs up!!

0 upvotes
lylejk
By lylejk (Jun 30, 2012)

Again, I'm more motivated by combining this with e-Paper for a true Minority Report magazine. Got the link from Slashdot earlier today and my head went bing, bing, bing, bing. :)

http://news.techworld.com/applications/3366665/plastic-logic-demos-video-animation-on-electronic-paper/

0 upvotes
maboule123
By maboule123 (Jun 30, 2012)

And when the painted camera?

1 upvote
cyron12
By cyron12 (Jun 30, 2012)

I've shot a wedding before where I've completely exhausted one battery and had to go into my bag for another, and this was with a battery grip too. how would an integrated battery solve this problem?

0 upvotes
gollywop
By gollywop (Jun 30, 2012)

Just send it to Maco for a quickie.

0 upvotes
tabloid
By tabloid (Jun 30, 2012)

Interesting concept....but I'm sure that is still in early development.

0 upvotes
Les Kamens
By Les Kamens (Jun 30, 2012)

Gotta start somewhere. Great idea and as all new ideas get adapted, let's see where this goes. May flop or may fly. May just open a door to some other technology that could revolutionize everything as we know it today. Who ever thought after loading and shooting 8x10 film holders that you can now hold up and ipad that looks very similar and grab an image on it.... just sayin

0 upvotes
Sonnik
By Sonnik (Jun 30, 2012)

Bottom line: If it falls short in performance AND causes us to throw away the product after the battery stops holding a chatge anymore, then it's a dud of an idea!

1 upvote
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Jun 30, 2012)

Exactly. Longer battery life definitely is a good thing & while I realize I'm not an electrical engineer, I fail to see how they come up with the notion that you MUST have an integrated design to have good battery life. From what I'm seeing the various camera batteries are lasting longer than ever even with larger displays & other demands being placed on them.

Look at how long the EN-EL15 on the D7000 lasts vs the similar-sized EN-EL3e on the D90. The EN-EL14 with my D5100 lasts longer than the EN-EL9 did on my D5000 yet is a bit smaller--and removeable. I'm sorry but I'm calling bull on the "you MUST have an integrated battery for decent life & size" notion.

1 upvote
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Jun 30, 2012)

I'm sorry I don't buy it. You will *never* convince me that you MUST have non-replaceable batteries for a product to have decent battery life & structural integrity. Can you imagine cars being done this way?

It is unethical business-wise to design products to where customers can't replace the battery themselves. I agree with the one person, this is just blatant "sheep" following of everything Apple does only because they're Apple. God I'm so sick of it. What next, are we all going to start wearing turtleneck sweaters too?

If you the manufacturer can't figure out how to give your product structural integrity with replaceable batteries--tough. Figure it out.

In fact the US should do like I'm told Europe does, if I'm correct by law they REQUIRE user-replaceable batteries. It should be that way here too.

3 upvotes
viking79
By viking79 (Jun 30, 2012)

I disagree, I used to not like devices with integral batteries, but after using them I prefer them in most cases except in devices you need to swap the batteries regularly. In my old laptop I went from having a removable battery that lasted only 3 or 4 hours to a permanent battery that lasts 7. I never took the battery out of the other device, I will take the extra 3 or 4 hour battery life so it will last all day without charging. Most of these internal batteries can be replaced for a reasonable fee if they fail.

3 upvotes
Keith Olsen
By Keith Olsen (Jun 30, 2012)

Just what we need... another law.

0 upvotes
mikiev
By mikiev (Jun 30, 2012)

If "Europe" had a law requiring user-replaceable batteries, Apple wouldn't be able to sell iPods, iPhones, or iPads there.

0 upvotes
animal900
By animal900 (Jun 30, 2012)

You can replace the battery on your iDevice. It's not pleasant, but you can do it!

0 upvotes
John Koch
By John Koch (Jun 30, 2012)

Don't iOwners simply upgrade? When they go to the iStore, see the new iBobs, and compare the cost of a new battery to the prestige (forget cost) of an upgrade, many simply upgrade and trade in the old iBob, which iStore recycles and sells refurbished.

1 upvote
Jogger
By Jogger (Jun 30, 2012)

I dont see how they can achieve the capacity necessary to power even the most basic device. Maybe for solar powered, self contained e-ink signage it would work. But, how is this going to power a smartphone or tablet or camera? You would need a huge surface area, achievable if you have multiple, folded layers.. which brings you back to the lithium polymer.

2 upvotes
Antonio G
By Antonio G (Jun 30, 2012)

It will depend on the surface battery capacity, the device's consumption and recharging times.
For cameras requiring a heavy duty or to be taken to places with no power supply it will only work if the batteries last for a complete journey or job, recharging times are short and can be done from portable (and small devices), e.g., external battery or even solar energy. Otherwise it will be difficult to see them on professional cameras.

0 upvotes
Alizarine
By Alizarine (Jun 30, 2012)

This development is a true innovation!

I can now see SLRs coming back to their old form... now lighter without the bulky batteries. It's going to be a hassle should they be sprayed on inside the bodies, I guess it should still be a removable part, albeit much, much thinner, like some SD or CF card. That way the camera would not become a "disposable" one...

1 upvote
oysso
By oysso (Jun 30, 2012)

I don't think DSLRs are really the target marked for this technology. Rather smart devices that can be only a couple of millimeters thick.

0 upvotes
locke_fc
By locke_fc (Jun 30, 2012)

Why not DSLRs? This same technology could be applied to make wafer thin repleaceable batteries as well, not just non- repleaceble ones

0 upvotes
MonkRX
By MonkRX (Jun 30, 2012)

The thin cells aren't going to hold the same capacity as larger cells. DSLRs have bulky batteries because the consumers want the capacity over the size advantage.

This new painting battery idea is still based on Lithium Ion. It probably holds a similar amount of power for its size compared to conventional Li-ion cells.

This is probably better suited to LOW power devices, such as E-readers (Kindle, Nook), Smart watches, bluetooth heaadsets, etc.

1 upvote
oysso
By oysso (Jul 1, 2012)

First of all I don't think that paint on batteries are good when you want to exchange a flat battery with a new one. If you do some intensive video or stills shooting then spare batteries is a must. And not very easy to combine with painted on batteries.

0 upvotes
GordonAtWork
By GordonAtWork (Jun 30, 2012)

A good idea for disposable cameras but I wouldn't fancy crashing a car which is made up of a battery shell. Instant fire would ensue and how would the fire service extinguish such a fire if they couldn't isolate the power source first. In fact, any item damaged could potentially be a very serious hazard and I doubt any airline would allow such a device on board. Remember the problem with laptop batteries ? Just because we can doesn't mean we should. I would also think that these spray on batteries would be pretty much useless for providing a high energy output unless you had a lot of them and then you're pretty much back to the current designs.

0 upvotes
JakeB
By JakeB (Jun 30, 2012)

It's thinking like yours that got us to the Moon, Gordon.

Good to see the pioneering spirit isn't dead.

2 upvotes
fireplace33
By fireplace33 (Jun 30, 2012)

Lithium ion batteries have a very high energy density meaning a lots of power in a small space.
There is some danger that if the battery gets mechanically damaged and short circuited then, it can catch fire.
To combat this the battery is often placed in a hard plastic shell; the actual battery inside is quite soft.
If these new painted surface are in anyway exposed outside and damaged then maybe, in the worst case the whole camera goes up in flames :-(

2 upvotes
cxsparc
By cxsparc (Jun 30, 2012)

Part 2...
With my last trip to Turkey, I ran out of space with my 16 GB card! So what do you do with built-in memory? How big will the memory be to satisfy most customers and still be cheap enough?
But again, my biggest point is ecological. The speed at which we generate toxic electronic waste and consume rare metals will not be sustainable in the future to come. Even now they start to go through old waste heaps to recover stuff. Think about lead become rare as of now, but being the base of most car batteries all over the world....

5 upvotes
cxsparc
By cxsparc (Jun 30, 2012)

Ecologically, this is the wrong turn, since it gives manufacturers the justification to make even more disposable electronic devices. If in the other hand a battery can be exchanged after exceeding its lifetime, the overall lifetime of the device is greatly extended.
The same holds true for the memory. If its built-in, it cannot be easily replaced nor increased. Thing about the evolution of memory cards and their corresponding price.
When I bought a Sony P+S in 2005, the 512 MB stick cost 90 Euros. It was sufficient for the camera, but I used this camera for 6 years (and still sometimes do) and I had a failure of the card, I could have easily replaced it with a much cheaper one.

5 upvotes
M Jesper
By M Jesper (Jun 30, 2012)

They could spray it into a removable grip.

1 upvote
Total comments: 108
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