Battery life is one of the troubles for the big mobile revolution and ever-present computing. A smartphone fights to make it through just one day and the introduction of even more great processors might make life bad.
Consequently, a bright discovery by a graduate student that might double the battery life of a smartphone sounds like a winner. Scientific American reports on the creation by Justin Manweiler, a Duke University researcher and a computer science graduate student at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering.
“Mobile devices today waste a lot of energy searching for a WiFi signal and then staying connected while overtaxed wireless networks ferry data to and from them. SleepWell allows a mobile device to slip into power-saving mode while it is waiting its turn to connect. This is no small matter, particularly when scores of caffeine-craving technophiles gather at the local Starbucks to take advantage of the free wireless access. Manweiler likens the competition for WiFi to big-city traffic. When workers leave their offices en masse at the end of the day, they clog up the roads and rail lines. If these workers staggered the times they left, the transit systems would be less crowded, and it would take less time to get home. Similarly, if mobile devices took their turn accessing WiFi access points, data would move faster and these devices would use less energy.”
“SleepWell is installed on the devices that create a WiFi network infrastructure, including WiFi routers and access points. As such, it is designed so that any mobile device—whether it uses Apple OS X, Google Android, Windows or some other platform—can take advantage of it.”
The sleep periods are not like the sleep mode on several laptops that kick in after a few minutes. SleepWell is more like power-napping, short sleep periods several times a second.
In tests, says the magazine, battery life was in several cases doubled.