Many of today’s magnificent gadgets and gizmos still rely on AA batteries for juice. They’re pretty impressive little power-holders, but they do have one big issue — it’s really hard to get all the energy out. They’re the electrical equivalent of a bottle of sauce, except you can’t stick a knife in to scrape the bottom. The solution has just arrived on Kickstarter, and it goes by the brilliant name of BatteryVampire.
Modern tech requires a certain voltage, of around 1.2V, to work at all. When a battery drops below this threshold, it still holds energy, but it can’t satisfy the demands of your Magic Mouse or bedside clock. The Vampire, which is basically a circuit in a battery-shaped shell, boosts the rate at which the juice flows out of any AA battery to which it is connected. In practical terms, that means the current prototype only works in devices that need two or more batteries, with the Vampire taking one slot and a standard not-quite-empty battery taking up the next slot.
This idea isn’t actually new — electrically clued-up makers have been creating “joule thieves” for ages. But I’ve personally never seen a product that is available to the consumer which performs the same function. Of course, that means the technology is untested as a mass-made product, and the early units are going to be pretty expensive: 100 Kickstarter backers can pre-order for $40, and everyone else will pay $47. That’s going to need quite a lot of AA battery use to become economical. But the price will come down in time, presumably, and the future potential for such a device — particularly in terms of being green — is immense.
To find out more, or to back the BatteryVampire, check out the Kickstarter project page.