Our smartphones are smarter than ever, except for one very inconvenient Achilles heel: They suck up a ton of power and require obnoxiously frequent recharging. But here’s some good news: We may be on the verge of a new era, one in which our smartphones (and the crazy sci-fi wearables that take their place in the future) only need to be recharged every few months.
Sounds dreamy, right? Some heroic researchers at the University of Michigan and Cornell have engineered a special material called “magnetoelectric multiferroic,” which has hugely exciting potential for environmentalists and tech manufacturers alike. It will allow computers of the future to operate using just a few quick pulses of electricity rather than a constant stream, like the semiconductor-based devices we currently use. Translation: Our computers and smartphones will require 100 times less energy to run, and will last much, much longer before they need a recharge.