Here at Brighthand we constantly keep an eye on technologies in development and occasionally bring to your attention the ones we think have the potential to significantly improve future handhelds.
No matter how capable your handheld is, it becomes a paperweight after the battery runs out, so scientists are always looking for better ways to power them. One possibility is the Silver Polymer Battery, invented by Zinc Matrix Power, Inc.
Most handhelds these days are run on Lithium-ion batteries. Because the reactants used in the Silver Polymer Battery are much denser, the same amount of power can be packed into a much smaller space. However, the battery will still weigh the same. Another option is to make the Silver Polymer Battery the same size as a current Lithium-ion battery, which would provide a longer battery life at the cost of a heavier battery.
Mike Cheiky, the Chief Technology Officer at Zinc Matrix Power, said, "The Silver Polymer Battery has an energy-to-weight ratio comparable to today's state-of-the-art rechargeable lithium batteries, but, because the silver and zinc reactants are much more dense than lithium and graphite, the Silver Polymer Battery packs much more energy and power into a given size, a feature which is very important in handheld devices. Silver Polymer prototypes have achieved well over 2 kilowatts per liter, several times the power level of current lithium batteries."
Though Silver Zinc batteries have been used for over 50 years by the military, they had various drawbacks that kept them from commercial use. Zinc Matrix Power, Inc. says its Silver Polymer Battery is ready for widespread use. Jerome Wiedmann, the company's Vice President of Marketing, said, "We now have several portable computer companies interested, but that is all that I can say at this time." He suggested more information might be available in the near future.
While typing on a full-sized keyboard is nice, no one wants to carry one around with their handheld. What if your keyboard could be completely virtual?
HoloTouch, Inc. has developed a holographic keyboard, a 3D image of a keyboard that can float in the air in front of the user. An infrared detector scans the plane of the holographic image to detect which number or symbol is being "touched."
This isn't a theoretical project. InfoPerks has licensed HoloTouch's hologram technology to use in touch-less information kiosks to be located in public spaces and on sidewalks in New York. However, the hardware necessary to do this is currently much larger than will fit into a handheld.
The advantage for handhelds is obvious. The image of the keyboard can be any size, entirely independent of the size of the hardware. Of course, it will probably be years before the equipment is reduced to a size that can be integrated into a handheld.
Some ideas are so simple, when you first hear of them you think, "Now why didn't I think of that?" RotoView is one such invention.
Even the largest handheld screens are tiny compared with the ones on laptops and desktops. Handhelds get around this by allowing the user to scroll around on a larger virtual screen. But doing so is cumbersome. It is much easier with RotoView; you can just Tilt the unit left-right or up-down to scroll around on the virtual screen..
Obviously you don't want this to happen every time you tilt your handheld. The device can be put in Navigation Mode to activate Tilt scrolling, or put in Fixed Mode to stop it.
RotoView is the brainchild of Innoventions Inc., which says the technology is available for licensing. Obviously the handheld or smartphone needs a sensor to detect when it is being tilted, so more than software is required. However, the company is working to get the necessary hardware built into future handhelds.
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