All batteries, even rechargeable ones, will eventually die. And recycling batteries still requires an extra effort that not all people are willing to make. As a result, thousands of batteries end up in landfills around the world, and it only takes one D-sized battery to permanently contaminate 35 cubic feet of soil.
The real tragedy is that most of these batteries are tossed before they’re really dead. That’s why a creative group of young designers devised the next generation battery: a flexible chemical element that would allow two half-dead batteries to fit in the space of one.
The concept, which recently won a Red Dot design award, was created by Huang Kun, Meng Xun, He Ting and Liu Yuan, all of whom were tired of people tossing batteries in the trash can with plenty of juice left inside. Called the “One=Two,” the battery design borrows its shape and function from a traditional mechanical spring.
“Its volume can be compressed so that when it is running low, two batteries can be used as one. This allows a more thorough use of the energy remaining in the two batteries, and lengthens their lifespan,” write the designers.
The One=Two could be manufactured to occupy the same physical space as any traditional battery, from AAA to D. When fully decompressed, it would resemble a single battery, with the same + and – elements on each end. But as the power decreases, several One=Two batteries could be compressed to fit into a single battery spot. This would allow the batteries to be used well past the half or three-quarter power mark, when normal batteries might be tossed because they had become too weak.