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This insight piece was penned by our co-founder Dylan McKee, and first written for Newcastle University’s Open Lab.

Currently, it is evident that battery life and power consumption are major technical issues that are holding back the potential for the proliferation of Wearables and the Internet of Things: this is made clear by the fact that even Apple, one of the world’s largest hardware manufacturers, cannot achieve a battery life of over 18 hours (as discussed in this article) for its flagship wearable product – clearly, this is not good enough for true mass market consumer adoption yet.

Whilst there are currently some novel solutions in existence to attempt to ‘solve’ this problem at the moment — such as this proof-of-concept product that was put on crowdfunding website Indiegogo unsuccessfully by Element 1 — the amount of electrical energy that can be generated from kinetic sources through human movement is, in the grand scheme of things, utterly negligible, as this excellent WIRED article explains with great scientific articulacy.

I personally believe that the true ‘lightning bolt’ moment in wearable power consumption will be with the development and of new battery technology – specifically, I think that the innovations that Elon Musk’s Tesla are working on with their ‘Powerwall’ batteries, when they are eventually scaled down, consumerised and applied to mobile/wearable tech, could be utterly incredible in giving wearables potentially months between recharges — and even when a recharge is necessary, it could be carried out rapidly via the Supercharger technology that Musk’s firm is also working on.

In fact, given this article that I found by BIKE Europe, it appears that Musk is already beginning (as of November 2016) to look at miniaturisation of the new battery technology in way of bringing it to electric bikes, so I certainly don’t think it is too ‘out there’ to suggest we’ll see it being miniaturised to the kind of mobile/wearable size necessary within perhaps even the next 5 years.

Dylan McKee
Dylan McKee
Dylan McKee is the co-founder & CEO of Nebula Labs. He's a passionate technologist, excited app developer, and enthusiastic tea drinker. Dylan has a vast experience of mobile app development, developing his first iOS app - myAltitude - at the age of 13, which went on to achieve over 1 million downloads worldwide. Since then, Dylan has worked on countless apps over multiple mobile and web platforms for a variety of clients ranging from solo entrepreneurs and venture-backed startups to established SMEs and local government organisations. Dylan studied Computer Science BSc at Newcastle University, and is also an alumni of the Ignite Accelerator Programme, completing their Summer 2014 programme and working with many of their portfolio companies on mobile apps.

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