Teen's invention recharges cellphones in seconds

Tired of constantly dying batteries, she came up with a device that could revolutionize energy storage -- and won $50,000 from Intel.

By Bruce Kennedy May 24, 2013 7:28AM

Video still of Eesha Khare (Courtesy of Manfred Auer via YouTube, http://aka.ms/EeshaKhare)If you care at all about America's future as a country of ideas and potential, you'll probably agree that this is a cool story.


An 18-year-old high school student has come up with what might be a breakthrough in the field of energy storage. She has invented a device that can, for example, recharge a cellphone in seconds rather than hours.


Eesha Khare, a student at Lynbrook High School in Saratoga, Calif., was one of two runners-up at the annual Intel (INTC) International Science and Engineering Fair last week in Phoenix. She beat out more than 1,600 finalists from more than 70 countries.


Khare received one of two Intel Foundation Young Scientist Awards of $50,000. As the company's press release states, "Eesha recognized the crucial need for energy-efficient storage devices. She developed a tiny device that fits inside cell phone batteries, allowing them to fully charge within 20-30 seconds."


When asked by NBC News why she focused on energy storage, the high school senior had a very practical response: "My cellphone battery always dies."


Besides charging very quickly, Khare's supercapacitor can also endure 10,000 recharging cycles, compared with current conventional batteries, which last about 1,000 cycles. She says her work in supercapacitors also allowed her to focus on her interest in nanotechnologies and nanochemistry.


In other words, this young woman has come up with a tiny, solid-state and highly efficient battery that can bend, fold and potentially be used in a variety of applications, from clothing and fabric to car batteries.


Let's not forget the other runner-up at the Intel Young Scientist Award, 17-year-old Henry Lin of Shreveport, La., who also received $50,000 for his simulations of galaxy clusters.


The event's first-prize winner of $75,000 was a 19-year-old student from Romania, Ionut Budisteanu, who created a low-cost, automatically controlled car that uses artificial intelligence to detect traffic lanes, curbs and the vehicle's real-time position.


Khare will use her prize money to attend Harvard, where she plans to pursue a career in research. And she is already being wooed by Google (GOOG). Not bad for someone who just attended her high school prom.


More on moneyNOW

42Comments
May 24, 2013 12:08PM
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I hate to throw cold water on this, but either something's a bit misleading in this article or this young lady has made a breakthrough that will revolutionize the world.  

If the latter and she can patent her invention, she will certainly make $BILLIONS, so her $50,000 second-place award becomes chump change.  As just one example, such a breakthrough would enable electric cars to totally replace gasoline-power automobiles.  Strange that eminently-qualified judges would give her only a second place for this.

If you Google "supercapacitor", you can find that the best of existing supercapacitors have energy densities that are approximately 10% of  the best conventional battery but their power density is generally 10 to 100 times as great.  Basically, this means that, yes, you can charge a cell phone supercapacitor battery-replacement in less than one minute, but it will then give you only about 10% of the use time (say around 30 minutes on standby) before it needs recharging.  It is a tradeoff that some, but not all, users may want.

Personally, I hope it's the revolutionary breakthrough, but the engineer in me says that it's not.

May 24, 2013 9:58AM
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This is the kind of innovation this country needs, and our current crop of students seem to lack foresight in the technical arena. My hats off to this student who looked a little further than her nose to make stuff like this happen. I'm a tech person also, so I crave stories like this that highlight the brightest and best among us.
May 24, 2013 10:46AM
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With young women and men of this caliber,  all is not lost for America,
the vanguard of innovation for over a century.

Now, if we could only sequester non performing positions, like
Congress, thus removing the last obstacle to real progress.

May 24, 2013 10:02AM
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An inspirational and motivational story of undreamed of possibilities.
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This is nothing new -- back in 1975 we were talking in physics class in science about a capacitor the size of a two story house (and they were smaller back then) being able to hold all the human generated electrical power from the beginning of time up until then.

 

If you look at an electrical sub station you will see those small building size structures on the ground they are capacitors there to store energy during the night and release it during the day.

 

The trouble with using capacitors as electrical storage devices is that they bleed electrical power out very fast. You can charge them very quickly. But do not expect to charge one and leave it in your closet for a couple of months and expect it to still have it's charge.

 

Most older electronics use to have like a C battery size capacitor to store energy for devices that needed to have regulated power for a certain wattage and volts and amps as normal A/C current varies too much.

 

Also the article did not say what the storage life of the capacitor is.

 

 

May 24, 2013 10:12AM
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Going to Harvard?  What about MIT?
May 24, 2013 11:34AM
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Awesome.   The REAL electric car isn't to far off now.     Pull into a "gas" station,  car is charged as fast as you can walk inside and grab a coke.
May 24, 2013 10:57AM
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better batteries and better solar energy harvesters ( solar panels ) always reminds me of those STAR WARS flicks. maybe all that FUTURE TECHNOLOGY in those movies isn't that far out after all just 100 years ago personal transportation for most had a horse attached to it some how!
May 24, 2013 10:46AM
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I think Khare should have been the winner. Congratulations Eesha.

May 24, 2013 11:49AM
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I wonder if Intel is going to let her have some profits of this invention.  Or the $50,000 is all she is going to get. 

 

Could you imagine?  People that have to wait for hours in a electric station to charge their electric cars; they don’t have to wait any longer.  Great!

May 24, 2013 1:54PM
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Apply this to automobiles so we can put BIG OIL out of business for good.
May 27, 2013 10:39AM
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This is a time to rejoice in this young ladys' accomplishment and not rant about religion, politics, and the negative things that make this world a challenge to live in.  She is Muslim? maybe, but names can be deceiving at times. If she is, more power to her and her invention. God Bless America and let's silence the haters among us.
May 26, 2013 12:24PM
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Just to clarify - Lynbrook High School is in West San Jose, not Saratoga.  Eesha lives in Saratoga.

 

Lynbrook is one of the highest scoring schools in the state.  Not much in sports but great in academics.

May 25, 2013 8:58AM
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I hope she gets some good advice before she signs up with anyone.  She is sitting on a goldmine and needs to realize her potential for application in endless areas is unlimited.  Congratulations, your future is very bright, as well as America's.
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Please send this article to every high school in the U.S.A. for posting on their bulletin boards or other student info posts.Also place on YOU TUBE and other young peoples internet info sites.
May 24, 2013 2:49PM
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This girls effort should be posted in all high schools across the nation by their principals. By doing so , the many young girls will see that Khare is not only beautiful but intelligent also. I believe the redundant young girls could see that their beauty is not wasted by sitting or standing, starring at the mirror all day. A woman is prettier when she is intelligent, not just a sex doll. 
May 26, 2013 1:36PM
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It seems there is always someone who wants to spin these achievements politically. ( I am still looking for the $800 BILLION spent on stimulus, and how it "fixed" the problems it was supposedly aimed at.)
Jun 14, 2013 3:47AM
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Old news, you can do this at home yourself, she didn't think up ****.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oEFwyoWKXo

May 24, 2013 12:33PM
May 27, 2013 9:19AM
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From the Name I can tell this girl is a Muslim, had she been doing something BAD that would have been in the title but something this GOOD, oh no. doesn't deserve a mention, what a nation of hypocrites we are.
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