While we’ve already talked about the problems batteries present–both in terms of convenience and environmental impact–there’s another crucial issue facing electronics consumers: exploding batteries.
As consumers have demanded smaller devices with better battery life, technology companies have scrambled to keep up. Sometimes, technical issues arise as these companies strive to keep up with the breakneck speed of the industry.
While most people merely have to switch their phones to “airplane mode” during flights, an entire class of cell phone users was banned from their phone in the aftermath of a frightening technical mishap.
Two years ago, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 made the news for all the wrong reasons when one exploded on a Southwest Airlines flight from Louisville to Baltimore, emitting smoke, burning the plane’s carpet and ultimately causing the plane to be evacuated before takeoff.
Samsung reported that the lithium ion battery manufacturer–not Samsung itself–was to blame for the malfunction. The company stood by the design and hardware of the Galaxy Note 7. A massive recall went into effect, and the government specifically banned the device from flights due to safety concerns.
Even though the owner of the phone said he had been using a wireless charger (the Qi designation, similar to Apple’s AirPower), the incident highlights the problem with continued reliance on heftier, more powerful batteries.
Samsung’s answer to the incident was a vow to make better batteries, essentially inviting more of the same.
While the Samsung incident in the air has been the most public display of batteries gone bad, cell phones are hardly the only place where these types of dangerous mishaps occur.
Last month in Stevenage, U.K.–just north of London–the lithium polymer battery in an HP laptop exploded overnight, setting fire to a man’s desk before consuming (and ruining) his home office. The laptop owner Steve Paffett, awoke to an alarm, and quickly saw a “bonfire” on his office desk. By the time he was able to hit it with fire extinguishers, the damage had been done.
Paffett now warns people not to leave their laptops plugged in overnight, “as this is the result,” he said.
Other recent explosions include an iPhone replacement battery, a scooter battery, a camera battery (in an airport security line, no less), and even a lithium ion battery exploding in the cargo hold of an airplane.
While plenty of explosions take place in countries with more lax electronic safety regulations, these examples show that this can happen even in the U.S. and U.K., where batteries are more sophisticated.
Even as wireless charging begins to take off, many tech manufacturers are holding onto their batteries for dear life. And the danger of more incidents like this remains.
With WigL technology, electronics manufacturers can focus on building receivers for instant, constant power delivered through wireless signals, rather than on increasing storage using volatile chemicals. WigL reduces the need for batteries, as power can be broadcast where it’s needed, when it’s needed. No need to charge the laptop or the phone all night; the electricity is readily available when you hit the power button.
Think of WigL as being “the cloud” for powering electronics. Rather than carrying around every file someone would ever need on their laptop, computer users store many files via Google Drive, Apple iCloud and other network-based sources to access the files whenever they need. WigL doesn’t force smartphone users, laptop users and even scooter riders to save all the power they’ll need to a battery in order to function; like the cloud, it provides instant access to what’s needed right at the moment it’s needed.
Say goodbye to unnecessary infernos, and say hello to WigL.