Films about fictitious shrinking devices - like Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and Despicable Me - have captured the imagination of audiences for many years. So imagine the excitement in 2011 when Chinese engineers claimed to have made the world’s first shrinking device. While it may sound like it came from a film, the device only created the illusion of a smaller object, rather than actually shrinking it.
It is hard to imagine life without the 9V battery. It has powered so many household and industrial devices for over six decades that it can easily be taken for granted. Yet Ultralife Corporation are still manufacturing these power houses after more than a quarter of a century; phenomenal considering the rate of scientific and technological change.
Did you know that the lead acid battery is over 160 years old? Since its invention, there have been many improved variations such as the first sealed, or maintenance-free, lead acid (SLA) that was introduced in the mid-1970s. However, in 1996, an alternative chemistry – Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) – was introduced that can serve the same applications with significant advantages. Ultralife Corporation developed a full range of batteries using this chemistry to provide OEMs with a lower cost, reduced weight and easier-to-integrate option. Here we explore these advantages and introduce the newest member of the Ultralife LiFePO4 family.
In October 2020, the U.S. Postal Service implemented a temporary price increase due to the heightened number of online shopping packages being delivered in the run up to the holidays. No surprise, as a heady combination of national pandemic restrictions and ever-expanding e-retail dreadnaughts like Amazon are setting us up for a Christmas of video calls and deliveries. It’s perfect timing then that the smart doorbell has skyrocketed in popularity.
Effective decontamination and sterilization of hospital wards and bathrooms is essential in reducing the risk of cross infection. This is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, when we consider that there are just 20 critical care beds per 100,000 people in the US. Here, we explore the vital role robotics play in sterilization and what to consider when choosing a power supply.
Robots for military, medical, surveillance and logistics purposes are all assisting humans by undertaking dangerous or monotonous tasks but can still have very different power needs, based on the legislations they are subject to and their reliance on battery power. Here we examine the vital functionalities of bomb disposal robots, drones, surgical robotics and logistics robots that can influence the power solutions they require.
For large medical devices, battery power is mainly used as a backup in case of mains failure. For handheld and wearable devices however, they are the primary power supply. Any downtime could threaten the well-being of the patient, which makes the efficacy of the batteries just as vital as the monitors or sensors they might be powering.
For over 130 years, engineers have sought to assist those who struggle with walking through the use of wearable mobile machines called exoskeletons. Many and varied power sources have been trialled for these machines over time, from compressed gas bags to steam power. So, what led to batteries being selected as the modern-day power source of choice and will they still be relied upon in the future?
According to Amazon, a record number of smart home devices were sold during the 2018 holiday season, a trend that looks set to continue this year. However, sales are dominated by household names, such as Amazon and Google, making it difficult for competitors to secure a coveted place under the Christmas tree. Here, we look at a home automation and smart home security device from other manufacturers and discuss the ways that batteries are developing to meet the emerging power needs.
Measurement is a fundamental requirement of scientific and engineering disciplines. Without precise measurements as a basis, all future work is doomed to inaccuracy or ineffectuality. As such, it’s vital that test and instrumentation equipment can be relied on to provide consistent, accurate measurements. Here, we explore the role batteries play in achieving reliable instrumentation — and the challenges design engineers should consider.