Update on fuel cells [dreaming of electric sheep]
You can only expect people to really extend their bodies and minds with technologies once these are both affordable and reliable. Wolf Schweitzer, early 2000.
Lack of really useful long lasting mobile energy provisions are a serious restriction not just for prosthetic arms and hands - that lack cripples the whole shebang comprising all electronic prostheses that make our current society [cf. AMBER CASE].
After fuel cells were discussed between 2009 and 2011 as it seems [TOSHIBA], the subject now risks to become forgotten.That is not adequate, as industry kept at it, and currently, devices are actually offered that seem to be both economical and - compared to batteries containing heavy metals - environmentally somewhat friendly. One particular product is offered by BEUPP. Another is called POWER TREKK.
On Extreme Tech [link] we read: "For over a decade, portable fuel cells makers have been promising that they were about to become economical for mobile and remote applications. California-based Jadoo pioneered in the field, with a solution aimed at on-site TV crews and medical applications, but its products never achieved broad success. More recently, smaller units like the MyFC PowerTrekk have entered the market, catering to eco-sensitive consumers willing to splurge on expensive, but low-impact, fuel pucks rather than loading up on less expensive extra batteries. Now, British-company Intelligent Energy is about to take another crack at the market with the hydrogen-powered Upp fuel cell. The Upp is a $200 2-piece device that comprises one half that turns the fuel into energy, aka the “engine,” and the other half that serves as a hydrogen “fuel tank.” Refilling can be done either by snapping off and replacing the tank, or by refilling it."
With that in mind, it does not surprise that Apple [news July 2014] - currently drying out on our extended arms, with their new iPhone 6 barely matching hardware specs of my last year's Nokia Lumia 1520 - are more than under pressure to really innovate. To not deliver long lasting mobile power is to deny mobile power.
A ground breaking new technology has been developed by Shelley Minteer [link]: "University of Utah engineers developed the first room-temperature fuel cell that uses enzymes to help jet fuel produce electricity without needing to ignite the fuel. These new fuel cells can be used to power portable electronics, off-grid power and sensors."
And even more, the human body might be exploited for electricity [link]: Provided that the funding required can be secured, Iqbal estimated the technology is five years away from commercialization, excluding FDA approvals. “The product could initially be commercialized as a patch, a plastic bandage similar to a motion sickness patch”, he explained. “It will take small amounts of glucose from the wearer’s blood but no oxygen which can be obtained from the outside.” The patch, which would be in the centimeter or even millimeter scale, could be used by first responders or the military to power on-body sensors or GPS devices.
Way to go.