Alta Devices has provided a glimpse of the future of mobile power with the announcement of reference designs for the world’s lightest, and highest energy density, flexible military charging mats. The smallest of these chargers, which convert light into electricity, weighs just 4 ounces, has dimensions that are slightly larger than a sheet of paper, and can provide significant power to a soldier in the field without the need for an alternative fuel source.
The technology that makes these military chargers possible will also be introduced in unmanned systems, consumer electronics, automobiles, and a variety of industrial, remote power applications. “We have come to rely on mobile machines and devices that always need a source of power whether it be the grid, batteries, or fuel,” said Chris Norris, president and CEO of Alta Devices. “But in the next decade, we will come to expect mobile power that is transparently available at all times.”
Alta’s new military charger designs give a picture of how that world may look: according to the Army Research Laboratory, a soldier’s load can weigh 100 pounds, over a third of which are batteries. Alta’s technology can reduce that battery weight by 70 percent, saving approximately 25 pounds of pack weight. This reduction allows troops to stay nimble and extend their mission without the need to be resupplied.
In addition to being adopted by the military to improve the effectiveness of soldiers, Alta’s mobile power technology is targeted at manufacturers of unmanned aerial vehicles to increase flight times, at industrial suppliers in the mining and exploration markets to provide remote power, at consumer electronics makers to minimize the need to recharge, and at the automotive industry to provide supplemental power or to increase range in vehicles of all types.
“There are nearly limitless opportunities for always-available mobile power,” said Norris. “We are initially targeting applications where the need is well understood and the opportunity is substantial. Over time, we see huge markets being enabled by this kind of mobile power.”