LOS ANGELES - Smart phones are catching fire and generating headlines around the world, but are the batteries to blame or the demands of the users? Are tech owners so accustomed to convenience that they’re willing to risk their safety?
According to Fortune, “The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued recalls for battery packs, snow blowers, hoverboards, flashlights, and power recliners in the past year, all because of fires caused by lithium-ion batteries.”
Lithium ion batteries feature a liquid electrolyte that moves positive and negative ions between two electrodes and if the electrodes come in contact they can start a fire.
“A battery is really a bomb that releases its energy in a controlled way,” says Qichao Hu, a former researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
So why are we so content to surround ourselves with potential bombs? Because they are portable, lightweight, and can charge quickly.
Lithium ion batteries are not new. They’ve actually been around for 25 years. However, they’re being pushed to new limits as we seek compact technology that does more and more.
Technology malfunctioning is nothing new. It is the risk we take to push limits and make our lives easier, be it a supercomputer in the palm of our hands or a toaster. Then again, we didn’t put the toaster in our pants.