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MM: Batteries For Colder Temps; VR That's Easy On The Eyes

In this episode of Manufacturing Minute, a new cool battery and virtual reality that’s easy on the eyes.

New Cool Battery

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have discovered a way to enable lithium batteries to operate in temperatures as low as negative 60 degrees Celsius. By comparison, traditional lithium-ion batteries stop working at negative 20 degrees Celsius. 

The technology was achieved by creating a new type of electrolyte composed of pressurized liquefied fluromethane gas. The low viscosity electrolyte allows for high conductivity in extremely cold temperatures while also keeping a high performance at room temperatures. 

The electrolyte also comes with a natural shutdown that prevents thermal runaway. Researchers also developed another electrolyte to use in electrochemical capacitors which allows them to run at temperatures as cold as negative 80 degrees Celsius. 

Researchers hope the new battery and electrochemical capacitor combo could be used in electric vehicles, high atmosphere WiFi drones and even interplanetary rovers. 


How else could this extreme-cold withstanding battery be used? Do you think there are benefits to the manufacturing environment? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Virtual Reality That's Easy On The Eyes

Proponents of augmented reality and virtual reality technology believe that those systems could eventually make factory operations much more efficient and job training significantly easier.

But the early AR and VR systems already on the market leave wearers susceptible to eye fatigue — which could be a problem for warehouse or production workers on an eight-hour shift.

Researchers from University of Illinois, however, developed a new system that could make next-generation VR and AR headsets easier on the eyes.

Their 3D display uses optical mapping to develop subpanels that each generate 2D picture and shift into different depths. The centers of all the images, however, align with one another, and an algorithm blends them so that they appear continuous. The system produces cues that mirror depth perception in the real world — thereby increasing viewing comfort.

The researchers are currently discussing their innovation with tech companies and hope to further reduce the system's size and power consumption.


Could this technology lead to earlier adoption of AR and VR systems by industry? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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