Friday, March 23, 2012

Building a better battery via technology crowdsourcing

Brown is one of the first participants to join Allied MindStorm, an open innovation website that invites the public (thinkers) to brainstorm new commercial applications around exciting technologies (challenges) developed by university researchers. In its initial submission on a Paper-Thin Plastic Battery Mashup, the public is invited to participate in postulating on new uses of the technology in the open innovation setting.

The new battery device submitted uses plastic, not metal, to conduct electrical current. It combines the power of a capacitor with the storage capacity of a battery. Tayhas Palmore, professor of engineering, worked with a team to develop the new type of battery that is a hybrid. It can store and deliver charge over long periods of time with greater power and with twice the storage of a double-layer capacitor.

Its power and paper-thin dimensions could be used for wrapping electronic devices but also be made into a fabric-like material. A description of the prototype is published in Advanced Materials: 18, 1764–1768.

Allied Mindstorm has a new website where university researchers can submit new technologies and then invites the public to come up with new applications for these technologies.

One of the first participants to join Allied MindStorm, Katherine Gordon, managing director of Brown University's Technology Ventures Office, said, "The decision regarding which application to pursue first is a complex and important one. Allied Minds is creating an entirely new way for universities to make this decision, while showcasing their most interesting research, but also improving them through open collaboration."

- Courtesy of the Technology Ventures Office