January 18, 2013
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We can make flexible screens, we can make flexible motherboards, but if we can’t make flexible batteries, then what’s the point of dreaming about bendy smartphones?

Researchers in Korea claim to have figured out the battery problem. They say the traditional liquids used to make a lithium-ion battery aren’t very safe. If they get too hot, then it’s possible for the battery to melt, causing the positive and negative sides of the battery to touch, which results in an explosion. What the researchers did with their battery was to swap out the liquid parts of the battery with solid compounds. It sounds counter intuitive, but these solid compounds are flexible, and they’re allegedly even safer than their liquid counterparts.

Now all of this is fine and dandy, but we care about one thing and one thing only: When will this technology reach our smartphones? There sadly isn’t an answer. We love scientists working on new and interesting inventions, but if they can’t bring them to market, then are they really inventions or are they just lab demos?

This writer used to work in a laboratory that was trying to figure out which materials could be used to build future transistors. That was over half a decade ago. Have transistors changed in that time? Sure, they’re now smaller than ever, but they’re built pretty much the same way they have been since the first silicon chip rolled off the assembly line.

Again, science is great, and we need more people doing science, but we also need people to figure out how to bring the latest advances to the masses. Faster and cheaper, that’s the creed of the industry we’re in.

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