Every year it seems like someone claims they have cracked the code to devices with much longer battery life. Usually, it revolves around some substance or battery science, and while the laptops with the best battery life are impressive, the numbers don't appear to be skyrocketing.
Scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS) are the latest to put forward a solution, and it doesn't involve discovering vibranium. The key is a method that can reduce the energy consumption of a device when it is performing memory-intensive processes by up to 80% (via TechRadar).
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The solution in this case is a new network-on-chip that achieves its energy conservation goals via a slight reduction in quality that can result in a considerable amount of power savings. Depending on the conditions, the system would make on-the-fly decisions regarding the amplitude for the signal to ensure that the user is not adversely affected by a reduction in quality.
One potential implementation would be allowing for the video quality on your device to be decreased slightly in the event that you are not looking at your screen, or if you are in a dark environment, or if your battery is below an established threshold.
While the potential applications for this technology carry through to anything that has a system on a chip, the ramifications for battery-powered devices are much more significant to consumers.
The team's goal sounds slightly more Orwellian as they want to build a "new breed of low-power cameras that could operate almost perpetually under the tight power budget being extracted from the environment such as via a centimeter-sized solar cell."
We'll just have to wait and see whether this battery life breakthrough actually makes it to devices in the near term, or if we are going to be left waiting for the vibranium solution.