New chip could charge phones in ten minutes

A chip has been developed that could make waiting hours to charge a phone a thing of the past.

Nanyang Technological University Professor Rachid Yazami, said the chip could cut recharging times down to ten minutes and increase battery life as well as decrease the risk of battery fires.

The news comes after the announcement that similar research by Oxford University into smartphone screens could cut charging needs down to once a week.

Yazami said that the chip has gained the interest of the likes of Sony, Sanyo and Samsung as well as car maker Tesla.

The smart chip sports a proprietary algorithm developed by Yazami that is based on electrochemical thermodynamics measurements (ETM technology). At present, lithium-ion batteries have a chip in them which only shows voltage and temperature readings. Today's battery chips are unable to detect a malfunction and can also show only the estimated amount of charge the battery is holding.

But the chip has a patented algorithm that is able to analyse both the state of health and the state of charge. This produces a chart that looks rather like a ski route down a mountain.

"The ski route' of a brand new battery looks different from those of a degraded or faulty battery just like how two fingerprints will look quite different," he said.

"In addition to knowing the degradation of batteries, our technology can also tell the exact state of charge of the battery, and thus optimise the charging so the battery can be maintained in its best condition while being charged faster."

He envisaged every battery containing the chip, "which will in turn reduce the risk of battery fires in electronic devices and electric vehicles while extending their lifespan."

The chip took five years to develop and is marketed by Yamazi's start-up in Singapore KVI Pte.

It is expected that the technology will be made available for licensing by chipmakers and battery manufacturers before the end of 2016.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.