editor's blog
Subscribe Now

It’s the Details

A couple of years ago I was stunned to find myself jazzed by batteries. I mean, how mundane can you get? A battery is a battery is a battery, right? And we keep hearing that there are needs for major breakthroughs to enable better electric cars and such, and yet those breakthroughs haven’t been obvious. Probably because they haven’t happened; development has been incremental, not a step function.

But something about Infinite Power Solutions’ story grabbed my curiosity and took me into the realm of thin-film batteries. Just to jog your memory, these guys made thin, flat, solid-state batteries – the rough size of a postage stamp. And they were pushing the limits of storage; it seemed like exciting stuff.

More recently, I was doing some battery-related stuff and wanted to contact them for comment. Ominously, they had a one-page website. It didn’t say they were dead, but… well, there are only two times when the website has one page: before launch and on the way out.

During Sensors Expo I had a conversation or two that confirmed IPS’s demise. Doors were closed. Not sure if anyone picked up the technology.

Now, this certainly wouldn’t be the first time some brash new technology company didn’t see its way through, and I don’t necessarily spend a lot of time covering folks that disappear. Prognosis is more fun than autopsy.

But I couldn’t help wondering, sort of like you wonder about those wonderful friends of yours that suddenly and without warning announce they’re getting a divorce, what happened? Things seemed so promising. Did the technology simply not pan out as expected?

I don’t have complete answers, but the things I heard had nothing to do with the fundamentals of their technology. It was about the side details. Like people being able to poke into it or bend it and create internal shorts. Or the fact that they had to be manually mounted on boards; they didn’t work well with pick-and-place automation.

If these are the things that made the difference, then, well, it’s a damn shame. Just like it is when any intriguing idea gets sidelined due to such “trivialities.”

It’s a tough call to make when you’re bringing out something fundamentally new and exciting. It’s not unusual for there to be these little nagging side issues, and the temptation is to, if not outright ignore them or pretend they’re not there (typical when the boss simply wants it to work and doesn’t want to hear about annoying details that might get in the way), then to assume that they’ll sort themselves out along the way.

And many times they do sort themselves, but it’s hard to know that in advance. In this case, if the tidbits I got were true, then they didn’t sort themselves, and they got in the way of adoption. Were they unresolvable? Did IPS simply not pay enough attention or focus on those issues? Who knows. It’s history at this point.

But it’s a reminder that it’s worth sweating the details. And if you think you have the luxury of ignoring a few annoying issues or deferring their solution, then I’ve always felt that, rather than pretending they’re not issues, everyone needs to agree that, yes, these could be issues, we don’t think they’ll be roadblocks for now, so we’ll move forward. But it also bears thinking through, what if we’re wrong? What’s Plan B?

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Jul 5, 2022
The 30th edition of SMM , the leading international maritime trade fair, is coming soon. The world of shipbuilders, naval architects, offshore experts and maritime suppliers will be gathering in... ...
Jul 5, 2022
By Editorial Team The post Q&A with Luca Amaru, Logic Synthesis Guru and DAC Under-40 Innovators Honoree appeared first on From Silicon To Software....
Jun 28, 2022
Watching this video caused me to wander off into the weeds looking at a weird and wonderful collection of wheeled implementations....

featured video

Synopsys PCIe 6.0 IP TX and RX Successful Interoperability with Keysight

Sponsored by Synopsys

This DesignCon 2022 video features Synopsys PHY IP for PCIe 6.0 showing wide open PAM-4 eyes, good jitter breakdown decomposition on the Keysight oscilloscope, excellent receiver performance, and simulation-to-silicon correlation.

Click here for more information

featured paper

3 key considerations for your next-generation HMI design

Sponsored by Texas Instruments

Human-Machine Interface (HMI) designs are evolving. Learn about three key design considerations for next-generation HMI and find out how low-cost edge AI, power-efficient processing and advanced display capabilities are paving the way for new human-machine interfaces that are smart, easily deployable, and interactive.

Click to read more

featured chalk talk

Industrial Ethernet Next Generation Connections

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and Amphenol ICC

No longer are hierarchical communication models effective in this new era of Industry 4.0. We need to look at an independent communication model that includes a single network with industrial ethernet at its core. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Peter Swift about Amphenol’s SPE and iX Industrial family of connectors. They take a closer look at the details of these connector solutions and investigate why they are a great fit for the next generation of industrial automation applications.

Click here for more information about Amphenol ICC Industrial Ethernet Connectors & Cable Assemblies