Universal Battery Charger Fits Any Gadget

A USB charger for lithium-ion batteries has been developed with Uganda in mind so that locals can become one-stop electricity providers, but you can use it on your devices, too.

What's the Latest Development?


A new lithium ion battery charger, developed by Fenix International and currently being demonstrated at the Aspen Ideas Festival, is designed with two small metal contact points that can clip onto almost any lithium-ion battery. "The charger can plug into any computer or USB wall adapter, but Fenix designed it specifically to be plugged into the ReadySet, an all-in-one 'intelligent battery' that can take in power from a variety of sources (bicycle generator, solar, the grid), store and smooth it, then spit it back out to charge phones or other appliances."

What's the Big Idea?

Because the new battery charger is cordless, an entrepreneur could, in any place where mobile devices are abundant but power is scarce, be sure that he or she can charge most phones without carrying around a ton of little adapters. What fascinates Alexis Madrigal about the charger is that, while it was designed for electricity-poor countries, it may prove handy for Western customers as well: "As more and more entrepreneurs start to focus their efforts outside the O.E.C.D. countries, I think we're due for a lot more of this kind of cross-pollination."

Related Articles

Scientists discover what caused the worst mass extinction ever

How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.

Credit: Ron Miller
Surprising Science

While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.

Keep reading Show less

Why we're so self-critical of ourselves after meeting someone new

A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.

New acquaintances probably like you more than you think. (Photo by Simone Joyner/Getty Images)
Surprising Science

We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.

Keep reading Show less

NASA launches ICESat-2 into orbit to track ice changes in Antarctica and Greenland

Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.

Firing three pairs of laser beams 10,000 times per second, the ICESat-2 satellite will measure how long it takes for faint reflections to bounce back from ground and sea ice, allowing scientists to measure the thickness, elevation and extent of global ice
popular

Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).

Keep reading Show less