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Microsoft, Tesla say software-defined batteries could mix and match power on the fly

Mark Hachman | Oct. 5, 2015
Instead of one dumb battery, a whole bunch of smart ones.

If your PC’s calendar (or Cortana) knew this, it would be able to route your charger’s power to the quick-charging battery. Putting charging control under Windows (or Google Now, or the Mac OS) would also allow optimizations to be quickly applied—your device would learn how to charge, just as it learns your schedule, your voice, and other things about you.

In the case of the wearable, Microsoft combined a low-efficiency, bendable battery in the strap with a more efficient lithium-ion battery behind the face of the wearable (a Microsoft Band?). Knowing that the user was siting at its desk caused the wearable to drop into a low-power state, pulling power from the less efficient bendable battery. But as the user set out on a run where heart rate and distance had to be monitored closely, the wearable revved up and puled power from the Li-ion battery.

The paper’s authors concluded that SDBs wouldn’t require any additional cost for the controller logic, and could benefit a variety of devices, including drones, smart glasses, and electric vehicles. The next step? Actually testing the tech with smart assistants like Cortana and Google Now to see if they can actually control the SDB.

 

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