Remember when batteries weren’t rechargeable at all? Some still aren’t but, increasingly, we’re relying on rechargeable cells of all sorts to power our increasingly popular portable devices.

Remember when it took overnight to recharge your NiCad batteries? Then, several hours to recharge your Lithium ion batteries? Now, many cell phone batteries recharge in an hour or two.

But researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) say they’ve gone one better — much better — inventing a new kind of battery that can recharge in just a few seconds.

“If you can charge your phone in 30 seconds, that becomes a life changer,” team leader Professor Gerbrand Ceder told Times Newspapers. “It could change the way we think about technology like this… You would literally be able to charge up while you stand and wait.”

Cedar also notes that, on a larger scale, the new technology could produce electric car batteries capable of recharging in under an hour, eliminating one of the main barriers to the adoption of electric vehicles.

The MIT team is using an improved Lithium ion technology that increases the efficiency with which electrons are transferred within the cell, turning what was a stop-and-go city street into a freeway.

Cedar says the new batteries could be available for sale within two years.

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