Apple Patent Applications Describe Fuel Cell-Powered Mobile Devices
December 23, 2011 10:41 AM
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Apple patent application
(Source: Apple Insider)
Apple patent application
(Source: Apple Insider)
Apple is looking to create, lighter, more efficient devices using fuel cells
Apple is interested in making fuel cell-powered mobile devices, according to Apple patent applications published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
According to two published Apple patent applications, called "Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device" and "Fuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computing Device," Apple is looking to build lighter and smaller mobile
devices like MacBooks
(Air, Pro) by replacing current batteries with a fuel cell system.
This may not come as a surprise to many, since Apple has filed other patent applications for lighter hydrogen fuel cells. Those patents, which were brought to light this past October, described a building process where multiple fuel cells are connected by a power bus in a parallel pattern, and a voltage-multiplying circuit is added for additional voltage to the stack.
Now, Apple hopes to utilize these lighter, more efficient fuel cells in its mobile products in an effort to promote renewable energy sources and offer devices with the ability to run for days or even weeks without refueling, according to the patent applications. The devices will also be lighter and less bulky due to the lack of traditional batteries.
The first patent application, "Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device," states Apple's case for wanting to use fuel cell technology in their devices. While current
fuel cell technology
for mobile products requires the user to carry a fuel cartridge for recharging purposes, Apple wants to integrate fuel cells right into their electronics.
The second patent application, "Fuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computing Device," describes how the fuel cell system would work with a rechargeable battery where one would power the other when necessary, and vice versa.
"This eliminates the need for a bulky and heavy battery within the fuel system, which can significantly reduce the size, weight, and cost of the fuel system," said the second patent application. "This fuel system includes a fuel stack cell which converts fuel into electrical power. It also includes a controller which controls operation of the fuel cell system."
will be creating a hydrogen fuel cell system that is cost-effective, according to Apple.
Both patents were filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2010.
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RE: not again Apple
12/23/2011 11:52:19 AM
In this case, the implementation is simple- a connection for power plus a bidirectional communications connection (based on the image). Many devices connect to their power source in the same manner. Why should this implementation be patentable? Should other manufacturers be forced to only connect to a fuel cell via a power line only? Or maybe two monodirectional communications interface, thereby complicating the circuitry of other manufacturers implementations.
If there was something unique about this implementation, I might agree. But Apple seems to be on a path of patenting the most basic implementation they can get away with to force other manufactuerers to license or sue.
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