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She won the $50,000 Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award

A high school student from California has created a way to charge cell phones completely in just 20-30 seconds. 

Eesha Khare, 18, of Saratoga, California, recently won the $50,000 Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award for her fast-charging device. 

The device uses an improved supercapacitor that can store a lot of energy into a small space using a nanorod electrode. It is capable of 10,000 charge-recharge cycles and can fully charge a cell phone in 20-30 seconds. 

Traditional chargers typically take hours to achieve a full charge, and are capable of only 1,000 cycles for rechargeable batteries.


Khare said her supercapacitor has been used to power an LED, and sees her invention being placed in cell phones in the future.

"It is also flexible, so it can be used in rollup displays and clothing and fabric," Khare said. "It has a lot of different applications and advantages over batteries in that sense."

This definitely isn't the first time a high school student has come up with a brilliant invention in recent years. Just last year, 15-year-old Jack Andraka invented a new pancreatic cancer test that earned him the $75,000 prize from another Intel-sponsored fair. 

Source: NBC News



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No tech details on a tech site?
By EricMartello on 5/20/2013 7:42:09 AM , Rating: 4
Apparently this student took a capacitor, put a red cape on it and called it an invention.

quote:
The device is a supercapacitor that can store a lot of energy into a small space.


In general a capacitor does not store a lot of energy compared to a battery. It stores a small charge of electricity which can be discharged about as quickly as it is charged - that's it's benefit. It can either help manage voltage and current for electronics or a bank of them can be used to charge/discharge high voltage & current for a short duration (like a camera flash).




RE: No tech details on a tech site?
By BRB29 on 5/20/2013 8:10:35 AM , Rating: 2
I was thinking the same thing. I don't know why this is an invention. I can't tell from the source reference either.
Supercapacitors have been around for a long time.

The only thing I see here is flexibility. That can really help fit more of it in a small device.

Unless she made an SC that can store as much energy as a battery, there is no invention here. The only new thing is flexibility. But SC is basically having 2 metal plates separated by an insulator so it's not hard to make it flat and flexible.

There's only 3 ways to improve an SC
1. shorter separation distance.
2. More surface area(more porous materials)
3. Increase max voltage

This article or NBC reference did not state what she did.


RE: No tech details on a tech site?
By tilandal on 5/20/2013 8:15:48 AM , Rating: 2
I'm skeptical as well but the Intel awards are serious business. I think there is probably more to it but the reporter is just not knowledgeable enough to see what it is.


RE: No tech details on a tech site?
By EricMartello on 5/20/2013 9:29:36 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm skeptical as well but the Intel awards are serious business. I think there is probably more to it but the reporter is just not knowledgeable enough to see what it is.


Did a little digging (which the poster of this article should have done before posting) and it seems like this student has some type of connection to a university research team. In a nutshell, she's getting sole credit for work done by a research team on something that isn't even proven.

Her big claim is that she lit an LED after "charging" the capacitor for a few seconds. That's proof of nothing. How are we going from lighting and LED to powering a modern cellphone for any meaningful duration?

As far as Intel's vetting the recipients of the prize, they seem to be more interested in generating buzz and PR for themselves moreso than validating whatever it is this girl is putting forth. This story has spread over the news outlets quite fast and is working as intended. $50K is a small fee to pay for the PR bump.


RE: No tech details on a tech site?
By karimtemple on 5/20/2013 9:33:37 AM , Rating: 2
The "connection" is she used their lab equipment. All this nay-saying is really confusing me right now. What is everyone's hangup?


RE: No tech details on a tech site?
By EricMartello on 5/20/2013 9:59:22 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The "connection" is she used their lab equipment. All this nay-saying is really confusing me right now. What is everyone's hangup?


She received a lot more help than access to equipment. My issue is that they're doling out awards to people who really didn't accomplish anything on their own. She relied on a "team" to do what she did, yet she's happy to pocket that $50K for herself and take all the credit.

I'd be more impressed if a kid actually made something BY HIM OR HERSELF without help from a PHD or research team, and I bet a lot of kids who entered the contest were doing things on their own...

Compare this girl to someone like Nikola Tesla, who did event practical and useful things that could actually be demonstrated. We have enough pseudo-scientists.


RE: No tech details on a tech site?
By karimtemple on 5/20/2013 10:05:18 AM , Rating: 2
It says nothing about "a lot more help." It says she was given access to their equipment. You're just making stuff up.


By EricMartello on 5/20/2013 6:00:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It says nothing about "a lot more help." It says she was given access to their equipment. You're just making stuff up.


Yes, the lack of specificity is not a mistake. If it outlined just how much help she did receive more people would find it ridiculous that she got a $50K award for copy-pasting other peoples' work.


RE: No tech details on a tech site?
By BRB29 on 5/20/2013 10:04:06 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know of a single high school student that gets to use a University lab without having a family member working there. The labs are not free. There is a big lab fee when you take classes with labs(especially these types of labs)

She gets credit for something she also did not do by herself. The results are not even as good as what others have already done. Her claims are wild and not real. I don't see her "invention" being used in the future.


RE: No tech details on a tech site?
By karimtemple on 5/20/13, Rating: 0
RE: No tech details on a tech site?
By BRB29 on 5/20/2013 12:29:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
karimetemple isn't clever, he's just obnoxious. He should never have even said anything. He look like an idiot.


There, I fixed it for ya


By invidious on 5/20/2013 10:21:42 AM , Rating: 3
Obviously the battery does not charged to full in 20 seconds, the cap is filled and it then slowly charges the battery over time. The problem is that to fully charge the battery the capacitor would need to be able to store at least as much energy as the battery itself. But if capacitor technology were cabable of doing that we wouldn't be using chemical batteries in the first place.

The most likely explanation is that the cap fully charges in 20 seconds and then the cap partially charges the battery as much as it can.

This is a good idea in concept, plug your phone in a for a quick boost every now and then to extend your battery life. Ultimately it would come down to how much charge you get each time, if 20 seconds can get you a couple hundred mA-hours then the might be on to something.


By karimtemple on 5/20/2013 8:22:52 AM , Rating: 1
It's not saying she invented supercapacitors, but that she invented one. I guess it is a poor choice of words, but ultimately still valid -- especially if she created a new type of supercapacitor.


RE: No tech details on a tech site?
By drycrust3 on 5/20/2013 8:23:42 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
In general a capacitor does not store a lot of energy compared to a battery.

The normal formula for a capacitor is something like q=CV, meaning that as the voltage goes up, so does the amount of electricity inside the capacitor, and similarly that as it discharges the voltage drops in a linear fashion.
Another problem with capacitors is that the ones with the higher capacitances tend also to be the ones with internal resistance, meaning the voltage will drop slowly over a not so long period of time, e.g. a few hours.
What might actually work is if the capacitor was charged to a much higher voltage than the cell phone actually needed, and that it discharged into the battery charging it in the process. The problem with this approach though, is that I don't know of any way to charge the battery and at the same time isolate the battery terminals.


RE: No tech details on a tech site?
By BRB29 on 5/20/2013 8:38:33 AM , Rating: 2
That would mean using as a storage buffer for charging the battery. Something which is done already for both charging and discharging. The problem is her claim. I just cannot see this fitting into a phone because it still cannot have the same energy storage as a battery without being the size of a small brick.

These supercapacitors have great theoretical capacitance in labs. In practical application, they are nowhere close to those numbers. Their cost is also higher.

Our best bet right now is this
http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/ucla-research...
But that is still just lab based and theoretical. Making it practical, economical, safe, and mass production is a completely different matter.


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