What is stopping the next big thing in technology?

We enjoyed the great flood of inventions when engineers discovered the ability to compact computing power of an iMac into a device that could easily fit into your pocket, since 2007, namely the revolutionary iPhone.

Since then, we have been spoilt with excitement from new technologies being created almost on a daily basis with the invention of new gaming apps, social applications, augmented and virtual reality experiences, wearables, the internet of things, smart cars, smart home appliances, drones…

However, like most tech enthusiast, I am getting frustrated and impatient with the sudden saturation in inventions in the recent years. In the latest CES highlights, we seem to be getting excited by smart vases and cups. So what is new and breakthrough other than making more daily items internet enabled. What happened to the never seen or heard before technology concepts and gadgets from sci-fi movies?

Vessyl-Smart-CupParrot-H2O-and-Pot_1

So, what seems to be the roadblock. Are we already out of ideas on what else we could improve on, other than trying to make every single item we have on our desk internet enabled and sends useless notifications to our phone?

In my opinion, it will be breaking the portable energy barrier that will be the next breakthrough. There has not been much innovation in this area in the last decades. Just like the invention of transistors and microprocessors did to modern computing, the solid state drives and rechargeable batteries did to the rise of smart devices and wearables. Imagine a world where the energy to power up digital devices are available in abundance, ultra-quick battery recharge time, wireless charging (with range, not the current ones where the charging dock needs to be within a 4cm proximity with the device).

funny-iPhone-battery-plug1

I feel that there is not enough importance being put in this area in tech showcases but much has been researched on new revolutionary portable energy storage devices. Below are some of the battery technologies that are coming to us soon. Click on the link for more details of each technology.

If you are feeling entrepreneurial while trying to figure out the next big thing, perhaps it is time for us to “Re-Imagine” things when energy is no longer a barrier, just like the availability of the internet everywhere. It is only a matter of time before the energy barrier is overcome, a new door will open to a whole new breed of technologies.

  1. The Alfa battery – Runs on water (salty or normal), 40 times the capacity of Lithium-Ion batteries and lasts up to 14 days. Will be available in 2015. Imagine electric automobiles with this battery and refuelling stations with only a water tap.
    Read more here: http://gadgetynews.com/alfa-car-battery-runs-on-water-and-lasts-a-fortnight-and-arrives-this-year
    alfa-battery-300x158
  2. Sweat powered battery – Generates energy from your sweat when you workout. Sufficient power to charge your phone or wearables like heart monitors.
    Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28791496
    _76942874_76942766
  3. Foldable batteries – Jenax J.Flex batteries is a breakthrough in thin battery sheets that are foldable, scrunchable, rollable and washable. Tested on 200,000 folds and doesn’t lose its performance. You can now imagine these lithium-ion batteries being inserted into fabrics, watch straps to power up wearables.
    Read more: http://www.techradar.com/news/wearables/this-is-a-battery-yes-we-re-serious–1282285
    jenax-jflex-battery-970-80
  4. StoreDot (30 seconds charge) & Shawn West’s (26 seconds charge) – If we can’t make them last longer, at least make them charge faster. Batteries that are fully charged within 30 seconds.
    Read more on StoreDot: http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/storedot-has-improved-its-impressive-30-seconds-to-charge-phone-battery-1279917
    Read more on Shawn West: https://recombu.com/mobile/article/battery-technology-fully-charged-in-26-seconds_M20671.html
    download
  5. Energous Wattup – The REAL wireless charging station that could charge devices wirelessly up to 15-feet away. One of the only few who are really trying to revolutionise the wireless charging space since the idea’s inception by PalmPre in CES 2009.
    Read more: http://www.engadget.com/2015/01/05/energous-wattup-wireless-charging-demo/
    energouswattuplede
  6. NTU’s Fast charging batteries  – Something closer to home, developed by Nanyang Technology University in Singapore, a battery that may not charge as fast as the earlier 2 examples but 70% charge in only 2 minutes is still very impressive. On top of that, these batteries can last up to 20 years, more than 10 times longer than current Lithium-Ions.
    Read more: http://media.ntu.edu.sg/NewsReleases/Pages/newsdetail.aspx?news=809fbb2f-95f0-4995-b5c0-10ae4c50c934
    phpwdxu3u (1)

There, with all of the above, what do you have in mind as the next big breakthrough in technology?

Wireless charging panels embedded within road tarmac to constantly charge electric cars while they run?

Wearables with continuous energy supplied from a chip planted within the epidermis of the user? (The birth of the human energy farming… think Matrix)

Riding on the Matrix idea, perhaps a better use of dangerous convicts in generating energy for the society than the death penalty?