Power Pockets for Festivals

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Isle of Wight festival attendees have wearable charging technology taking care of mobile device power needs-- Vodafone trials the Power shorts and Recharge sleeping bags, both with built-in thermoelectric Power Pocket chargers.

Power shortsA University of Southampton development, the Power Pocket consists of multiple "thermocouples" making a thermomaterial small enough to stitch into clothing. Taking advantage of the difference between body and outside temperatures (the so-called Seebeck effect), the material generates voltage and current when heat flows through the warm (body-facing) and cool (outside-facing) sides of the material.

According to the researchers 8 hours inside the sleeping bag provide up to 24 minutes of talk time or 11 hours of standby time (assuming the temperature inside the sleeping bag is 37 degrees, regular human body temperature) while a full day's worth of wearing Power shorts should charge a smartphone for up to 4 hours.


NuForce Boosts Mobile Audio

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Mobile Music PumpCustomers wanting more powerful audio audio from their mobile devices might be interested in the NuForce Mobile Music Pump-- a portable headphone amplifier the company claims adjusts gain by either 3X or 5X.

It uses a standard 3.5mm jack for input and output and provides max audio output of up to 94mW (32 ohm, 1.74V) or 49.2mW (100 ohm, 2.2V), with frequency response of 20–20kHz +/- 1.5 dB.

The device is compatible with both over- and in-ear headphones, with a 200mAh battery providing up to 8 hours of audio amplification.

Go NuForce Mobile Music Pump

Adobe Steps into Making Creative Hardware

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Photoshop maker Adobe makes first steps into the hardware business with "Project Mighty" and "Project Napoleon"-- a pressure sensitive stylus and a small digital ruler designed for use with the company's tablet applications.

Project MightyThe Project Mighty is a so-described "cloud pen" with sleek, Apple-style industrial design. It connects to tablets and the internet via Bluetooth and allows one to not only draw more naturally on tablets, but also bring up content from the cloud (such as drawings, colour swatches or settings) with the press of a button.

Adobe does not provide exact specs for the pen, but says it includes a rechargeable battery, Bluetooth LE connectivity and an unspecified amount of built-in storage.

Meanwhile the Project Napoleon looks like a 3-inch ruler (hence the name) but is actually more of a digital protractor. It creates a digitally projected edges, making the accurate drawing of shapes and lines on the display easier.


An Intelligent iPhone Case

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Colorado-based OtterBox launches what it claims is an "intelligent" iPhone 4/4S battery case-- the Defender Series with iON Intelligence. 

OtterBoxThe case combines a rugged protective case with a built-in 1450mAh lithium-ion battery and power management app to provide plenty of power and protection to customers' iPhones. 

“Customers are wanting to do more with their OtterBox Defender Series,” OtterBox CEO Brian Thomas says. “They are on the go all the time now; they don’t have to worry about data, they always have to worry about battery life. We believe the Defender Series with iON Intelligence to be the perfect union of hardware and software. It is the most accurate, personalized power profile on the market.”

The "intelligence" in question automatically charges the device (until either full charge or up to two hours of charge time) when power levels drop to 60%, while the app allows users to monitor the power status of both phone and case batteries. 

Ten LEDs provide a quick case battery charge reading (in 10% increments), and case charging and syncs come through included micro USB cable.

Go iPhone 4/4S Defender Series with iON Intelligence

The Future of Batteries: Small in Size, Big in Power?

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University of Illinois researchers create tiny lithium-ion batteries able to out-power even the most powerful capacitators-- batteries few millimetres in size able to recharge mobile devices "in the blink of an eye."

Ion CrossingThe key to the batteries' power is a redesigned cathode and anode structure. While standard li-on batteries consist of a solid lithium salt cathode and a graphite cathode, the University of Illinois battery uses a nickel-tin anode and manganese oxide cathode with a 3-dimensional internal microstructure.

The result is porous electrodes with a massive surface area allowing for more chemical reactions to take place, which results in a massive boost to power output and charging.

The first battery using the technology is a button-sized number the researchers claim combines the power output of supercapacitators and the energy storage of fuel cells.