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This new phone battery takes just a minute to charge

The battery is the fantastic invention that let us escape from the tyranny of the power cord and use our gadgets wherever we want. Smartphone would be a lot less useful if we had to plug them in everywhere we went.

That being said, batteries aren't actually that good. They don't power gadgets very long, they take forever to recharge and they go bad after a few years. That's why scientists are always working frantically to come up with something better.

The move from alkaline batteries and nickel-cadmium batteries to lithium ion for most electronics was a major step. However, lithium ion batteries still aren't as good as things get. Plus, they tend to explode spectacularly if they get damaged, like this one that ran into a kitchen knife.

Unfortunately, most alternatives haven't panned out as well as hoped. Graphene-based batteries are promising, but as with most graphene breakthroughs it's a long way away. However, researchers at Stanford think they have a better solution.

Next page: The future of batteries?
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