An 18-year-old recently won $50,000 in scholarship funds for inventing a supercapacitor that could one day be used to fully charge a mobile device like a smartphone in just a few seconds. Eesha Khare and two other teens were among the top winners at the annual Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
Her design, a tiny device that fits inside cell phone batteries, would allow them to fully charge within 20-30 seconds. The supercapacitor can last for up to 10,000 cycles which outpaces traditional batteries by a factor of 10. Intel said the invention also has potential applications for car batteries but it’s the mobile side that could have the most immediate potential.
She is one of two recipients of the Intel Foundation Young Scientists Award this year. The other winner, Henry Lin, created a model that simulates thousands of galaxies. The Gordon E. Moore Award, which honors the best of the best, went to Ionut Budisteanu who created an AI model that could eventually lead to cheaper self-driving vehicles. The 19-year-old earned $75,000 in scholarship money for his efforts.
Khare’s invention has only been used to light up an LED thus far but it was reportedly able to do a great job at it. With any luck, Khare will continue to develop the technology and bring it up to scale where it could be used inside future portable devices. After all, battery life in portable electronics is still a pretty big problem for most people – especially heavy users.