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Amazon brings its Dash grocery scanner to the UK

Now that Amazon’s grocery delivery service has launched in the UK, many of the devices that it easier to order food and household items are starting to make their way here too. The first is the Dash, a small handheld gadget that lets you add products to your basket with its barcode scanner or by simply using your voice. All that’s then needed is to open the Amazon website or mobile app and complete your order.

Amazon says that Dash is available for free between today and August 28th, as long as you complete two Amazon Fresh orders. It you don’t, it’ll cost £35. It operates much like a dictaphone, storing your orders as you speak into its built-in microphone, while its LED scanner helps add items that either aren’t recognised or hard to describe.

With the Dash scanner now available, it’ll probably only be a matter of time until Amazon brings its super-simple Dash Button across the pond. The Dash buttons are small plastic, er, buttons that are pre-programmed to order a certain brand name item. In the US, over 100 brands — including Huggies, Energizer, Red Bull, Starbucks Samsung — are already on board, but you can bet the retailer is already in talks with UK-centric companies.

Source: Amazon UK

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Existing EV batteries could be recharged five times faster

Lithium-ion batteries have massively improved in the last half-decade, but there are still issues. The biggest, especially for EVs, is that charging takes too long to make them as useful as regular cars for highway driving. Researchers from the University of Warwick (WMG) have discovered that we may not need to be so patient, though. They developed a new type of sensor that measures internal battery temperatures and discovered that we can probably recharge them up to five times quicker without overheating problems.

Overcharging a lithium-ion battery anode can lead to lithium buildup, which can break through a battery's separator, create a short-circuit and cause catastrophic failure. That can cause the electrolyte to emit gases and literally blow up the battery, so manufacturers impose strict charging power limits to prevent it.

Those limits are based on hard-to-measure internal temperatures, however, which is where the WMG probe comes in. It's a fiber optic sensor, protected by a chemical layer that can be directly inserted into a lithium-ion cell to give highly precise thermal measurements without affecting its performance.

The team tested the sensor on standard 18650 li-ion cells, used in Tesla's Model S and X, among other EVs. They discovered that they can be charged five times faster than previously thought without damage. Such speeds would reduce battery life, but if used judiciously, the impact would be minimized, said lead researcher Dr. Tazdin Amietszajew.

Faster charging as always comes at the expense of overall battery life but many consumers would welcome the ability to charge a vehicle battery quickly when short journey times are required and then to switch to standard charge periods at other times.

There's still some work to do. While the research showed the li-ion cells can support higher temperatures, EVs and charging systems would have to have "precisely tuned profiles/limits" to prevent problems. It's also not clear how battery makers would install the sensors in the cells.

Nevertheless, it shows a lot of promise for much faster charging speeds in the near future. Even if battery capacities stayed the same, charging in 5 minutes instead of 25 could flip a lot of drivers over to the green side.

Via: Clean Technica

Source: University of Warwick

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