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As we advance as a society, we’ve largely moved beyond the need to walk around with a boom box trying to force our personal taste on everyone. But, of course, they’re still useful for parties, but wasteful in terms of battery power. Helium is a boom box that wants to fix this problem, using supercapacitors.

Quick Charge, Long Life

The most interesting technology is not actually the music playback, although that’s pretty good in of itself, but rather how the Helium keeps a charge. A capacitor, in technical terms, stores energy electrostatically; think of it kind of like your hands after rubbing your feet on a carpet during a dry day.

Capacitors have a lot of uses in electronics, but supercapacitors can act as a form of battery. A much quicker, easier to use form of battery.

Charged Up

Here’s the deal: The reason it takes your standard lithium ion battery so long to charge is that you’re literally pushing atoms around, lining them up with a charge so that when you unplug, and the battery discharges, they’ll flow to the other side.

A supercapacitor, on the other hand, can just store the electricity right away; there’s nothing for it to push around. Thus, when you plug the Helium into the wall, it can immediately start slurping current, and will be ready to go in minutes. There’s just less work for the electronics to do, so it gets done faster.


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The Helium has other perks as well; for example, there’s a beautiful natural enclosure that makes it stand out. But it’s those supercapacitors that should really have your attention, partially because they help explain the price: If you want one of these, they start at $300 and go up from there. But, hey, it’s certainly cheaper than constantly buying D cells.

Dan Seitz

Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.