Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Mr. Laptop goes camping

Some noise, er, news is being made recently regarding an announcement by NEC regarding a fuel cell which uses methanol to power laptops. Using this fuel, laptops will be able to run up to 10 times as long as with conventional batteries, and instead of plugging it in to recharge, you can refill the cell and keep on trucking. So with a wireless connection, for example, I could sit in a hammock in my front yard and work from home all day without worrying about cords!

While this sounds really neat, my first thought actually was that no airline on the planet would allow a fuel cell with a flammable liquid in it on board, thus severely limiting the usefulness and slowing adoption. Apparently, however, the Department of Transportation has addressed this and has signed off on at least some variants of this technology because the concentration of methanol (in water) is low enough to not cause concern. Now the chief problem may be that it allows people to take their laptops camping and other places their families may wish they could not...