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Calif. Teen Wins Science Award For New Device That Charges Phones In Less Than a Minute

by Adriana Lee | May 22, 2013May 22, 2013 5:15 pm PDT

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Somebody, get this kid a gig at a mobile tech company, stat!

Eesha Khare, a student from Lynbrook High School in California, earned the Young Scientist Award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for an intriguing new invention. The 18-year-old developed a supercapacitor for mobiles, and it’s picking up buzz for attacking one of the most universal problems today — cell phone charging.

The Saratoga, Calif. native’s invention is a tiny energy storage device that fits neatly inside a mobile phone and can fully juice up the battery in less than one minute — all without affecting its lifespan. In fact, says the young inventor, battery longevity is actually prolonged.

Current batteries usually last for about 1,000 charge-recharge cycles, but with Khare’s device, those power cells can go for 10,000 cycles. If you’ve ever had a phone with a swollen battery pushing out the cover or a dead cell that won’t hold a charge, then you can probably appreciate what that means — no more buying replacements. That’s not only wallet-friendly, but also eco-friendly, as longer-lasting batteries means less toxic waste for the environment.

But the most buzzworthy aspect is the speed. The device can bring a phone battery to full capacity in just 20 to 30 seconds.

So what prompted the teen to pursue this area of technology? For her, it was a simple matter of practicality. She told NBC News, “My cell phone battery always dies.”

Khare won $50,000 for her Young Scientist Award. The top prize at the competition, the Gordon Moore Award, went to 19-year-old Ionut Budisteanu of Romania for creating a low-cost, self-driving car.


Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...

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