As laptops get smaller and faster, the problem of keeping them cool grows more difficult. But researchers are racing to the next generation in cooling technology, called electro-hydrodynamic cooling. The idea is to first use an electrode to electronically charge the air around the CPU; a second electrode then attracts the charged air, creating a constant stream of moving air that shunts heat with 50% greater energy efficiency than fans. The device also could use far less space, thus allowing for even faster, quieter, and cooler laptops with longer battery life. It might also be used on video game consoles, servers, and projectors–basically any expensive electronics that generate a lot of heat.
Alex Mamishev,a professor at the Universityof Washington in Seattle, has been developing the technology since 1999, and it’s being tested by Tessera. There are still plenty of bugs to be worked out–such as how to mass produce the technology–but the company thinks that it will be able to turn out the first prototypes as early as next year. You can read more about the tech at Scientific American.