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 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'.
'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.
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Calumet UK and Wex Photographic, two of the biggest photography retailers in the United Kingdom, are going to officially merge tomorrow.
macOS High Sierra came out today, but if you use a Wacom tablet you need to wait a few weeks before you upgrade. According to Wacom, they won't have a compatible driver ready for you until "late October."
Do you think a $3,000 Canon 80D video rig can compete with an $80,000+ Arri Alexa setup? Well it can't, but check out this video anyway to see how the rigs compare.
Seven simple rules to make sure you get the most out of your next photography outing.
Vitec, the company that owns popular accessory maker Manfrotto, has just acquired JOBY and Lowepro for a cool $10.3 million in cash. The acquisition adds JOBY and Lowepro to Vitec's already sizable collection of camera gear brands.
A master drone pilot has captured one of the most incredible (and highly illegal) drone videos we've ever seen by flying around, inside, onto, and under a moving train.
Intel just debuted their 8th generation desktop CPUs, and the lineup packs a performance boost for 'content creators' that photo and video editors might be intrigued by.
Canon is developing a 'Free Viewpoint Video System' that will turn real life sports games and events into immersive 3D interactive experiences. It's video game-like camera control IRL.
A veteran photojournalist, Rick Wilking secured a spot in the path of totality for the August solar eclipse. While things didn't quite pan out as predicted, an unexpected subject in the sky and a quick reaction made for a once-in-a-lifetime shot.
The new iZugar 3.25mm F2.5 super fisheye lens offers an insane 220-degree angle of view. That means it can basically see behind itself... good luck keeping your feet out of the shot.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember that time you took a picture of the frozen pizza baking directions.
A Craigslist poster has discovered the worst possible way to photograph a car: taking pictures of pictures displayed on a cracked and scratched up smartphone screen.
With the iPhone X coming out soon, the title probably won't last, but the iPhone 8 Plus is officially the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested, and the iPhone 8 is second.
Kodak's new Facebook Messenger chatbot is trying to bring back the 'Kodak Moment' by digging up your old social media photos and trying to sell you prints and custom coffee mugs.
Affinity Photo for iPad was touted as "the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet." This update makes it that much more convenient.
Yashica has released a new teaser video, and this one claims they'll be releasing an "unprecedented camera" in October on Kickstarter. Ready... set... speculate!
Storage solutions company Synology has just released its very first 6-bay NAS tower. Combined with the DX1215 expansion units, it can hold and control up to thirty drives.
We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the EOS Rebel SL2 and EOS M6.
The venerable Canon PowerShot G1 was announced seventeen years ago this week, marking the start of a line of enthusiast-focused compacts that's still alive and kicking.
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.
It might sound like a strange idea, but taking macro photos of boiling water can actually result in some really cool photographs. A good photo experiment for a rainy day.
The database was created to "break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded" by equipping those who commission photography with "the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.
Lensbaby has released two new optics for their special "optic swap system." The Lensbaby Sweet 80 Optic gives you that trademark sweet spot of focus, while the Creative Bokeh optic gives you 9 different drop in aperture plate options to play with.
TechCrunch has already posted their review of the upcoming iPhone 8 (not yet the iPhone X), and they're calling it "a look into the augmented future of photography."
Affinity Photo is a $50 photo editing software with no subscriptions. That's it – pay for it once and you're done. And we think it's actually pretty darn good.
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.