The Telegraph
Thursday , June 19 , 2014
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Soon, forget to recharge your phone for a week
- Little Flower School alumnus & award-winning Microsoft geek works to devise batteries with brains

Do you think your phone is smart but its battery is dumb?

For people who crib their high-end smartphone batteries don’t even last a day, here’s good news. An award-winning senior Microsoft researcher based in Seattle, US, with roots in Jamshedpur, is working on how to make smartphone batteries last a week.

Meet Ranveer Chandra (37), an alumnus of Little Flower School (LFS), Telco, who is leading an eight-member global team to develop durable batteries in smartphones that consumes power wisely.

Chandra recently delivered a lecture on the topic at the MIT Technology Review Design Summit held between June 9 and 10 in San Francisco.

An expert in wireless communications and energy efficiency, he feels batteries have not kept pace with the exponential development of software technology in cellphones in the last 15 years.

“We do so many things with our phones today. But batteries have to keep pace. The capacity of a battery has only doubled in the last 15 years,” Chandra said.

Now, Chandra’s team is testing whether it is possible to install in devices two small lithium-ion batteries instead of one large battery.

“The new idea is that by using different chemistries, optimised for various currents, one can significantly increase battery life. So, when the screen is off, the phone consumes only a few microamperes of current. We are looking at designing the batteries that work better at different current values,” he said, adding that he got the brainwave while working on a project in the African continent.

Each of the twin batteries will have their roles cut out, he said.

While one would be optimised to efficiently provide a large supply of current while playing games or using the browser, the other would shell out smaller amounts of current when the phone is idle.

“We are building simple prototypes that can improve battery life by 20 to 50 per cent,” Chandra, who is clearly passionate about the subject, said.

“Our mission is to get the phone last a week. What I said in my talk in San Francisco is that we should not wait for the silver bullet,” he said, referring to all the millions in the world waiting for the “perfect battery”. “I am virtually working with people across the globe and if anybody can get a solution faster, so be it.”

Always a bright scholar, after LFS, Chandra went on to do his BTech in computer science from IIT-Kharagpur and PhD from Cornell University.

Named in MIT’s prestigious Annual Technology Review (TR35), 2010, in its list of 35 young innovators under 35, Chandra was honoured for “exemplifying the spirit of innovation in business and technology”.

Ask him about his many achievements, and he shrugs it off. “I hope my work motivates bright youngsters, who instead of targeting normal MNC jobs can put some effort in research,” Chandra, whose parents still stay in Mango, Jamshedpur, said.

Do you know people among your school’s alumni who are doing exceptional work?