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Smartphone battery could warn users before exploding

Researchers are developing a smartphone battery that warns users before it is about to explode.

There have been numerous instances in the past where smartphone batteries have overheated, resulting in unfortunate injuries for the user.

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Yi Cui, an associate professor at Stanford, and several other scientists are designing a “smart” battery that can warn users in the likelihood of an explosion. It is difficult to completely stop batteries from exploding as overcharging or impurities in the battery itself can cause the cell to heat up and eventually explode.

However, scientists have found that by adding another layer on top of the battery’s existing polymer, which separates the two electrodes, users can be informed about any potential risk to thecphone and themselves. The extra layer acts as a third electrode and measures the voltage, sending out a signal when an explosion is about to occur.

Although the technique is only being trialled in smartphones currently, it could potentially find itself used for a number of other devices that have internal batteries likely to overheat. Professor Cui has made a number of attempts to improve battery technology in the past, including trying to create a pure lithium anode to boost efficiency.

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Smartphone users will no doubt prefer that their handset didn’t explode at all, but as battery technology is still an evolving science there are many more improvements to be made. If devices can alert users before issues occur then that not only has the potential to save phones from damage could protect users from serious injury.