Toshiba revealed a prototype MP3 player that runs on a fuel cell. Using 3.5 mL of methanol to provide 35 hours of playback for a flash-based player. A hard drive player will get 60 hours on 10 mL. That’s remarkable, considering my iPod shuffle gets about 14 hours. The players won’t be out until 2007 according to Toshiba.
Many have seen the fuel cell as the future for automotive fuel, but the expansion into electronics and computing could be transformative as well. IBM, NEC, and Hitachi are amongst the companies exploring fuel cells for their products. Players and PDAs would last double or triple the current playback time. Cell phones could see an increase of five or more times. And while miniaturization of higher end fuel cells are a daunting task, Laptops will eventually benefit.
As fuel cell technology is utilized, many of the hassles of modern gadgets will be lessened. One would think the adoption rate would increase. And then already established technologies will become more ubiquitous. Is an escalation of our gadget society even possible? How high-tech can we get?