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Your next smartphone may very well be able to bend in half — if LG’s technology ever comes to market, that is. Following news that both Samsung and LG are preparing smartphones with curved displays, LG has announced that it is developing flexible batteries that could make their devices virtually bendable.

LG has recently started production of what it calls “cable batteries,” which are flexible, wearable batteries that utilize low electricity and are waterproof, according to an LG news release issued through the Korean Newswire. Their durability, energy efficiency and flexible form factor make them an attractive option for upcoming wearable devices, and LG claims that they can even be tied into a knot.

This isn’t likely to be the battery that ends up in LG’s alleged G Flex curved display phone, however. The Korea-based company has another component called the curved battery that is optimized for devices with curved displays, and LG says that will power its next generation of mobile devices.

LG has already been implementing non-traditional battery design into its current products, such as the “stepped battery” form factor that is present in devices such as the G2. This type of battery refers to a design that stacks two batteries on top of one another, creating what looks like a step. This method is said to take full advantage of a mobile device’s internal space, allowing for more battery without compromising its design.

That could explain why the G2 lasted longer than most phones during the LAPTOP Battery Test, which consists of continuously surfing the Web over LTE with the display brightness set to 40%. The T-Mobile G2 lasted for an astounding 13 hours during that test, which is longer than any phone we’ve ever tested.

The introduction of flexible batteries marks a rather significant breakthrough in the future of both smartphones and wearable devices. Although companies such as Samsung have been flaunting bendable displays since CES 2102, the prospect of flexible gadgets had seemed far-fetched because of necessary internals, such as batteries, that couldn’t be bent until now.

Both Samsung and LG are rumored to unveil the world’s first commercially available smartphones with curved displays sometime this month, which would mean that these gadgets would have virtually unbreakable displays. The touch screens on these devices would be made of plastic and would use flexible properties to keep them from breaking, but the displays themselves won’t be bendable.

It’s clear that LG built its latest flagship phone to last. If its blazing fast Snapdragon 800 processor wasn’t enough, the G2’s 3,000 mAh battery lasted a record-setting 13 hours and 44 minutes on the LAPTOP Battery Test. The AT&T version lasted 10 hours and 42 minutes, while the Verizon model lasted 9 hours and 14 minutes. All of these runtimes are great. While the back-mounted power and volume keys aren’t for everyone, overall the G2 is a formidable Android phone that’s built to go the distance.

Image: LG PR

This article originally published at LAPTOP Magazine
here

Read more: http://mashable.com/2013/10/08/lg-bendable-batteries/

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If Francisco Aguilar and Dave Young get their way, police officers and firefighters will someday carry baseball-shaped, throwable cameras along with the rest of their equipment.

As the founders of Bounce Imaging, Aguilar and Young are developing spherical, camera-laden gadgets that can be tossed into dangerous places—such as the rubble of a building leveled by an earthquake—and then wirelessly relay 360-degree panoramic images of the scene back to a tablet or smartphone.

First responders and military personnel increasingly use technology to scout out places of interest without putting themselves in harm’s way. Often this means using robots capable of crawling into a building or toward a suspect vehicle. iRobot has even developed a compact, throwable reconnaissance robot called FirstLook.

Aguilar and Young, who met as graduate students at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, believe that their device will be easier to operate and cheaper than existing devices. They hope to sell the device for less than $500 initially.

“The idea behind this is, we get it to a point where if you toss it into a room and it’s dangerous to go get it, the unit is essentially disposable,” Aguilar says.

Aguilar came up with the idea for Bounce Imaging’s ball-shaped device while working as a volunteer in Haiti after the country’s devastating earthquake in 2010. While there were some fiber-optic cameras that could be used to search through rubble for survivors, the equipment was expensive and required a skilled operator, he says.

Earlier this year, he started working on Bounce Imaging with Young. They’ve since won $60,000 in funding—$50,000 in prize money from a contest organized by startup accelerator MassChallenge and $10,000 in another contest, the VenCorps NYC Impact Challenge—and are working on a prototype of their first product, which they hope to start testing in January. Several police departments and SWAT units are interested in trying it out, Aguilar says, including MIT’s own police department.

Young, who previously served in the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, thinks Bounce Imaging’s ball-sized device could be particularly useful for the military. It would be easier to lug around than some of the unwieldy equipment he had to carry while on duty, he says. And, since it’s much cheaper than other imaging tools, it could be abandoned, if necessary.

Others have demonstrated spherical camera systems. For example, researchers at the Technische Universität Berlin built a foam-covered ball with 36 cameras inside that is capable of taking complete panoramas when thrown into the air (see “Eye Ball“).

Bounce Imaging’s device is expected to a weigh half a pound to a pound with a battery inside. It includes six wide-angle cameras that are each surrounded by an infrared LED flash. An external casing protects the components from being crushed on impact and allows the device to bounce.

The cameras can snap pictures every second or half-second, depending on the device’s settings; six pictures will give a full 360-degree view of the scene. An accelerometer and gyroscope help orient images, which are sent wirelessly to an Android-running smartphone or tablet where software stitches the images together.

Young and Aguilar hope to incorporate different sensors into the device for different applications. A firefighter might use one that includes smoke, temperature, and oxygen sensors, for example.

One obvious problem that Bounce Imaging faces is retrieval of its balls—the gadget doesn’t currently include a mechanism to bounce or roll itself back to whomever threw it, so you’d either need to go in and get it or leave it behind. The company may add a tether to allow the user to pull it back, or a beacon that allows the device to be found later on. Aguilar suggests that at some point, the company could even add motion capabilities, like that offered by robotic ball maker Sphero.

This article originally published at MIT Technology Review
here

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/11/08/bounce-imaging/

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New photos of what Apple’s iPad Mini may look like started making the rounds on the web Monday.

Considerably smaller than the current iPad, the tablet has two rear speakers rather than the single speaker on the current iPad, and uses the new lightning connector Apple introduced with the iPhone 5. Placed beside a third-generation iPad in the photos, you can really see how the size difference between the two tablets will come into play.

Originally posted on Twitter by Sonny Dickson, the photos line up with current iPad Mini rumors. However, they could also simply be mockups of the device based on those rumors.

In addition to being smaller, the iPad Mini is also expected to be less expensive than the current iPad, pitting it against tablets such as the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire in the marketplace. Recent rumors also suggest a 3G version of the tablet will be available.

Screen protectors for the yet-to-be-announced iPad Mini are already on sale at Zagg.com. Rumors suggest that Apple will be sending out invitations to an event to announce the tablet this Wednesday, with an event to announce the tablet taking place on October 17.

Apple is traditionally very secretive about its products and product announcements, but photos and details about its iPhone 5 were heavily circulated on the web prior to the official announcement of the phone.

Do you think Apple will announce an iPad Mini this month? What do you think we’ll see in the tablet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

[via Business Insider]

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Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/10/08/ipad-mini-twitter-pics/