Amazing 18-year-old invents tiny device that fully charges in 20 seconds, could power mobile devices of the future


18-year-old Eesha Khare just won the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award and $50,000. Why? Well, you know, no big deal, she just invented a new supercapacitor that charges in 20-30 seconds.

The device, which is small and around an inch in length, has the ability to “hold a lot of energy in a small amount of volume,” according to Khare. During the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, she showed off the device powering an LED light. However, what is more exciting is the potential of this supercapacitor to power future smartphones and tablets. Khare says that the technology might also be able to help speed up charging automobile batteries — and who knows what else at this point.

Also, according to Khare, her supercapacitor will be able to last 10,000 power cycles. That’s ten times the amount of a regular battery today.

As for what she plans on doing with all that prize money, it sounds like its in good hands:

“With this money I will be able to pay for my college and also work on making scientific advancements.”

Alongside Khare were two other winners. The first was Henry Lin of Louisiana, who received $50,000 prize for “simulating thousands of clusters of galaxies to allow scientists to better understand the mysteries of astrophysics: dark matter, dark energy and the balance of heating and cooling in the universe’s most massive objects”. The second was Ionut Budisteanu of Romania, who received $75,000 prize for “used artificial intelligence to create a viable model for a low-cost, self-driving car”.

[via SFGate, CNN]

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  • Ashraf

    [@Bruce] Ditto. For what it is worth, we didn’t do that :-)

  • Bruce

    I think that the ‘recharge cellphone’ headline led to a lot of the misunderstandings about this. Even Electronic Products Magazine, which should have known better, wrote it up as “High school student wins Young Scientist Award for supercapacitor that can re-charge cell phone in seconds “, waiting till the third paragraph to clarify “Khare’s supercapacitor was designed to serve as a replacement for a small battery; specifically, those used in cell phones.”

    To summarize, it’s an energy storage device of apparently higher storage density than current state of the art. It could lead the way to power sources for devices like cell phones, which could be charged much more quickly than the present storage battery approach.

  • Col. Panek
  • Bruce

    This would replace the battery. Instead of using a reversable electrochemical reaction that ultimately wears out, it actually stores electricity as electricity and would have a much longer lifespan.

  • Briley Kenney

    Honestly, I don’t see this being practical. Every time you charge your battery, or any battery for that matter it lessens the total life cycle. If you could charge your battery that quickly all the time, imagine how quickly you’d also kill your battery.

  • Bruce

    e = mc^2 isn’t quite the technology that’s going on inside her device. That’s the latent energy that’s wrapped up in the atoms, and it’s kind of hard to entice it to escape. Her device stores electricity more efficiently than done by previous technology, but you still have to put it in there before you can take it out.

  • beertap

    What she invented is nothing new, search for graphene and you will see how easily it can be made at home for use as a supercapacitor.

  • davidroper


    Honestly I am floored by that answer. I believe you. Why can’t we have this device in our back yard powering our home and car/ WOW!! Oh, and Laptop!

  • Energizer


    The energy equivalent of one gram (1/1000 of a kilogram) of mass is equivalent to:
    89.9 terajoules
    25.0 million kilowatt-hours (?25 GW·h)
    21.5 billion kilocalories (?21 Tcal) [30]
    85.2 billion BTUs[30]
    or to the energy released by combustion of the following:
    21.5 kilotons of TNT-equivalent energy (?21 kt) [30]
    568,000 US gallons of automotive gasoline

  • drvajra

    Well, well, as much as I would like to pat the little girl’s back, it seems her papa had much to do with the invention than her. Frankly, I hate plagiarism, dishonesty and things like that.

  • davidroper


    Energy in the device is equal to speed of light (a constant) squared times its Mass.

    Thus, if the device is little/small then it could not power a laptop or electric car very long?

  • Ashraf

    Just remember: E=MC^2.

  • davidroper

    Can somebody explain to me what kind of a device could be expected to run for how long? I don’t understand Farads and stuff. Thanks.

  • Bruce


    There’s more tech info at this link:

    She’s getting 238.5 Farads/Gram, which is apparently 3x the energy density of current technology.

    The story used to be that you needed a pickup truck to deliver a Farad.

  • Naveed

    What is the ampere hour rating? You can light an led with a battery made of coins and vinegar. I’m not trying to diss this, but some useful numbers will go a long way in convincing people that there’s something here.