How would you like your smartphone to be powered by nuclear fission? Many people probably would not be comfortable with the idea of radioactive material in their shirt pocket. However, they might change their tune to hear it doesn’t need charging or changing for two decades.
Tama-chan, a writer at Japanese news site Byokan Sunday,was perusing the Chinese shopping website taobao.com when he came across just such a battery. It carries a hefty price tag but the benefits are frighteningly good.
A single battery is selling for 6,980 yuan (US$1,122) and is listed as a “20 Years Non-Stop Non-Charging Nano-Tritium Nuclear Battery.” Upon hearing the words nuclear battery the immediate question would be: Is it safe?
The product’s image clearly marked with that notorious radioactive symbol we’ve all been taught to fear and carries the warning label: “Caution – Radioactive Material.”
The active material in these batteries, tritium, is dangerous if ingested, inhaled, or absorbed into the skin. However, it’s unlikely that you would be eating these batteries even despite their cracker-like appearance.
The radiation caused by the decay of tritium, however, is said to be safe – unable to even penetrate the outermost layer of skin. In fact, if you have a glow in the dark watch, you might already be wearing some radioactive tritium.
These batteries were designed by an American company, City Labs for use in various space exploration and military machines which could not be serviced over long periods of time.
According to the City Labs website, in addition to lasting 20 years, these batteries can withstand a temperature range of -50℃ to 150℃, as well as extreme vibrations and altitude changes.
In other words, not only are these batteries safe, they pretty much mop the floor with conventional chemical based power sources.
So while wireless charging technologies are only beginning to emerge, they may already be obsolete if nano-tritium power becomes more affordable and makes charging a thing of the past.