Have you ever run out of cell phone juice in the middle of the day—only to realize you don’t have the time to charge it, much less look for an outlet?
Enter Eesha Khare, an 18-year-old high school student in Saratoga, California. Earlier this year, she presented a device at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair that will allow cell phones to charge in less than 30 seconds. She became one of three winning students in the competition, placing ahead of more than 1,600 others from around the world.
Clearly removed from a generation raised on Duracell AAs, Khare described her invention simply to CBS News: “I developed a new supercapacitor, which is basically an energy-storage device that can hold a lot of energy in a small amount of volume.”
A supercapaci-what-now? It isn’t a battery—in fact, it would fit into your phone’s battery—and, according to Khare, it would last through 10,000 charges in addition to juicing up in 30 seconds. That’s approximately ten times the number of charges slowpoke cell phone batteries get now.
Khare’s gizmo also may one day be applied to quickly power up other important chargeables, like car batteries.
For her efforts, Khare was awarded $50,000. Naturally, she’s putting it toward a top-rate education; she’ll attend Harvard University.