Teen invents device that could charge mobile phone in seconds

Eesha Karen wins Intel Foundation young scientist award for her work with energy-efficient storage devices

Intel International Science and Engineering Fair winners Eesha Khare, Ionut Alexandru Budisteanu and Henry Wanjune.

Intel International Science and Engineering Fair winners Eesha Khare, Ionut Alexandru Budisteanu and Henry Wanjune.

Thu, May 23, 2013, 14:49

Waiting hours for a mobile phone to charge could become a thing of the past thanks to a Californian teenager who has invented a tiny device with the potential to charge a mobile phone in 20 to 30 seconds.

With the rapid adoption of portable electronics, 18-year-old Eesha Khare recognised the crucial need for energy-efficient storage devices and developed a supercapacitor that fits inside cell phone batteries, allowing them to fully charge within half a minute.


Car batteries
To date, she has used the supercapacitor to power a light-emitting diode or LED, but she sees it fitting inside mobile phones and the other portable devices, reducing consumers’ reliance on electrical outlets for charging.

She said the technology may also be able to speed up the charging of car batteries, and could be used in charging stations, something which could kick-start the use of electric cars.

The Harvard-bound teenager last week received one of two $50,000 Intel Foundation Young Scientist Awards for her work with energy-efficient storage devices.

She told Intel that the supercapacitor acts as a storage device that holds a great amount energy in a small amount of space.

“While batteries are currently used for energy storage, they suffer from long charging times and short cycle life.”

She said the supercapacitor “can last for 10,000 charge cycles compared to batteries which are good for only 1,000 cycles”.


Original research
The nano-tech device is flexible enough to be used in clothing or displays on any non-flat surface.

Ms Khare’s invention beat entries from 1,600 other finalists who competed in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair held in Phoenix, Arizona.

She was runner up to Romanian student Ionut Alexandru Budisteanu, who designed an artificial intelligence system for self-driving cars.

Overall, some seven million high-school students from around the globe developed original research projects with the hope of making it to the world’s largest international pre-college science competition.