batteries are going bluetooth

Tethercell magically turns AA batteries into Bluetooth devices

Traditional batteries may never be the same again since Tetherboard displayed its working Tethercell prototype at CES 2013. It embeds Bluetooth into a traditional AA battery form.

Amanda Kooser
by January 8, 2013 12:11 AM PST
Tethercell componentsOh, look, there’s a Bluetooth in your battery.

(Credit: Amanda Kooser/CNET)

LAS VEGAS–What happens when you put a couple of SpaceX engineers together with some old-school batteries? You get a new-school approach to battery power. Tetherboard calls the Tethercell “the world’s first app-enabled smart battery.” Wait, don’t fall asleep, this is actually pretty cool.

A Tethercell battery is the size of a regular AA battery, but it holds an AAA battery inside its little case. It also holds a Bluetooth chip inside the case. Think of it as a battery turducken. This means you can use your smartphone to control the battery. Oh the power. You can turn off little Billy’s toy guitar when you want to take a nap. You can disable your spouse’s remote control when you can’t stand another second of mindless channel-flipping. You can even set hours when a device can be used.

Basically, Tetherboard is dragging old devices kicking and screaming into a new age of smartphone control. Take that, Teddy Ruxpin. This could also be a life-saver for parents who unwisely bought their kids Furbies. On a more practical front, the Tethercell could eventually be used to warn you when a battery is about to run out of juice, saving you from your smoke alarm’s obnoxious low-battery wails at 4 in the morning.

When you change out a AA battery for a AAA battery, you will be sacrificing some capacity. Using the Tethercell in a device with multiple batteries helps to minimize this impact to battery life.

Tetherboard showed off a working prototype of the Tethercell at CES 2013. The company is currently talking with investors and tweaking the Tethercells to go into production. Pre-orders should be starting within a few days.

Right now, it costs around $20 for aTethercell battery, but with economies of scale kicking in, Tetherboard hopes to get that under $10. Trust me, it will be worth it just to get that Furby to shut up.

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