Stay on target Additive Breakthrough Makes EV Batteries Suck Less in the ColdThe Battery in This Phone is Five Times Bigger Than Yours Technological progress is always being limited by something. Maybe a certain type of glass is too expensive. Maybe there’s just too much conflict over these conflict minerals. Or maybe researchers have become too tired to make phones curved for no reason.But you can always count on batteries to be one of tech’s biggest bottlenecks. As devices become more powerful they either drain more power faster or have to find new ways to become more efficient. Not too mention thinner mobile devices place limits on how big a battery can be. It leads to situations like putting bulky battery cases on phones to get more than a day’s worth of charge. The Nintendo Switch’s specs may be leaps and bounds better than past Nintendo handhelds but the battery life sure isn’t.Fortunately, tech can always be improved eventually, and batteries are no different. Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas have developed promising new next-generation battery technology. The secret? Lithium-sulfur.You’re probably already familiar with recharging lithium-ion batteries. But we’re currently running up against their limitations. They can only hold so much energy, energy that is barely enough for modern tech. So we need something new.By adding sulfur to lithium the result is a battery that’s cheaper, lighter, more environmentally friendly and most importantly able to hold between three and five times the charge as lithium-ion by itself.However, other issues with the combination have made the tech tough to pursue. Lithium-sulfur batteries break down since sulfur isn’t great at being stable or conducting electricity. And you need a battery you can depend on.What the researchers have managed to do is coat the lithium-sulfur with a super thin metallic layer of the element molybdenum. This mitigates many of sulfur’s weakness like conductivity and stability. Through this process, lithium-sulfur batteries work and can theoretically be manufactured and used on a commercial scale.So when you start seeing new phones brag that they use long-lasting lithium-sulfur batteries, maybe pay attention, as long as we know they don’t also blow up.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.
Stay on target Christmas is less than two weeks away, which means the clock is ticking to find last-minute tech gifts. If you’re still scrambling to buy some gadgets for everyone on your list, Amazon has some noteworthy holiday deals on electronics.Unlike other retailers that typically take seven days or more to send products, Amazon Prime ships everything to you within two days or less. Even better, Amazon is now offering Prime free two-day shipping by Dec. 24 on select items, so you’ll get your presents in no time.If you’re searching for some last-minute stocking stuffers, or something small for a Secret Santa exchange, Amazon has you covered. From earbuds to streaming media players, here are some great tech gifts on Amazon for less than $50.iJoy Matte Rechargeable Wireless HeadphonesPhoto Credit: AmazonListening to music, answering phone calls, and blocking out noise is a piece of cake with these iJoy Recharegable Wireless Headphones.Buy it HereVicTsing Shower SpeakerPhoto Credit: AmazonWaterproof design and a built-in MIC Bluetooth speaker make the VicTsing Shower Speaker the perfect music companion for your bathroom.Buy it HereAnker PowerCore 5000 Portable ChargerPhoto Credit: AmazonStash this Anker PowerCore 5000 Portable Charger in your backpack or purse: It will power up your smartphone with two high-speed charges. Buy it HereRainbow Backlit Wired Gaming Keyboard and MousePhoto Credit: AmazonInterchangeable “WASD” keys and WIN keys on this Rainbow Backlit Wired Gaming Keyboard and Mouse will elevate your computer gaming experience.Buy it HereStar Wars Kurt S. Adler R2-D2 Light SetPhoto Credit: AmazonIlluminate your bedroom, den, or office with this fun Star Wars Kurt S. Adler R2-D2 Light Set. Buy it HereAmazon Smart PlugPhoto Credit: Amazon“Alexa, can you turn off the lights?” Get the Amazon Smart Plug to control your appliances in a pinch. Buy it HereHandheld Game ConsolePhoto Credit: AmazonHere’s a #throwback tech gift idea: This Handheld Game Console comes with built-in 168 classic games, just like the ones you played as a kid.Buy it HereFire TV Stick 4K With All-New Alexa Voice RemotePhoto Credit: AmazonAppreciate high-tech streaming? The Fire TV Stick 4K With All-New Alexa Voice Remote offers high-quality audio and pictures, and access to more than 500,000 TV episodes, movies, and more. Buy it HereTP-Link AC750 Wireless Wi-Fi Travel RouterPhoto Credit: AmazonStay connected on the road and receive high-speed internet with this TP-Link AC750 Wireless Wi-Fi Travel Router.Buy it HereApple Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack AdapterPhoto Credit: AmazonHave a favorite pair of headphones and don’t want to give them up? The Apple Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter easily connects them to your iPhone.Buy it HereNintendo Switch AC AdapterPhoto Credit: AmazonJuice up your Nintendo Switch system on the go with this portable Nintendo Switch AC Adapter.Buy it HereEcho Dot (2nd Generation) Smart speaker With AlexaPhoto Credit: AmazonUse Alexa to play beats, control your smart home devices, make phone calls, and more with the portable Echo Dot (2nd Generation).Buy it HereFire 7 Tablet With AlexaPhoto Credit: AmazonIf you want all the perks of a computer without dropping major bucks, the Fire 7 Tablet With Alexa is a good pick: Watch movies, listen to music, and ask Amazon’s voice assistant nearly anything for less than $50.Buy it HereGoogle ChromecastPhoto Credit: AmazonThe Google Chromecast is a must-have for Hulu and Netflix binge-watching: You can easily stream from your phone to your TV, use your voice to launch content, and experience good audio and sound.Buy it HereBig Mouth Billy Bass(Photo Credit: Amazon)Who’s here to start the party? Big Mouth Billy Bass, naturally. This Alexa-enabled device makes the perfect “catch,” because it twerks when you play music and perks its head up when you ask Alexa questions.Buy it HereMore on Geek.com:Awesome Tech and Gadget Gifts for Under $2025 Geeky Gifts Under $25 for Everyone on Your List13 Best Gifts for Tech-Savvy Globe Trotters Apollo 11 Gift Guide: Best Moon Landing 50th Anniversary GiftsCool Gifts for Every ‘Star Wars’ Junkie
Stay on target Geek Pick: Ikea Sonos WiFi Speaker Is the Light of MusicGeek Pick: Ikea Sonos Symfonisk Is A WiFi Bookshelf Speaker Ikea takes sustainability very seriously. They’re pushing hard to power their entire operation using renewable energy by next year and sourcing wood from the most sustainable sources possible.Soon you’ll even be able to eat salads in the cafeteria that were made with greens grown right on site.Ikea has been working with Bonbio, a “turnkey provider operating in the field of circular farming and crop production.” Bonbio manufactures containerized hydroponic “farms,” and Ikea has already started rolling them out to some of their stores.There are four shelves inside each container and each shelf has enough room for 900 plants. According to Bonbio, that’s enough for a single container to produce between 15 and 20 kilograms of greens per day.Banks of LEDs provide the light the plants need to grow and essential nutrients are pumped into the water supply. Those nutrients, interestingly enough, are captured when food waste is converted into biogas. Food waste that will almost certainly include unfinished Ikea salads one day in the not-too-distant future.The process requires about 90 percent less water than traditional farming and pesticides don’t need to be part of the equation. Perhaps the biggest win, however, is cutting out transportation — which lowers costs and helps to reduce Ikea’s overall carbon footprint (every little bit helps, right?).The container is actually pretty similar to Ikea’s own indoor farming units. The Krydda shelves are much smaller, naturally, but plants are still grown hydroponically. Ikea sells everything you need, from grow lights to clay pebble and pumice stone media, to sprouting trays.Unfortunately none of this gear is available in North America just yet. You’ll have to go the more traditional route with a plant stand or greenhouse for now if you want to give indoor gardening a go with Ikea products.More on Geek.com:Ikea’s Smart Blinds for Dumb Windows Are Coming Soon, and CheapIkea’s Cosmic Collection Aimed at Small SpacesIkea, Sonos Stay Mum About Smart Home Sound Collaboration