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Miami Heat deepens NBA’s dive into esports with acquisition of Vainglory team

Vainglory's mobile pro-gaming scene is getting more serious.

Traditional sports and PC esports continue to collide with professional mobile gaming.

Team Misfits, the esports partner organization of the Miami Heat basketball team, has acquired Vainglory pro squad Fates Zero. This will give Misfits and the Heat instant access to one of mobile gaming’s biggest competitive scenes, as Fates Zero has a reserved spot in developer Super Evil Megacorp’s Vainglory league. This new Misfits team will compete for the first time under its new ownership at the Vainglory Preseason Invitational tournament in San Mateo on February 26.

The esports market will grow to $696 million in revenue this year, according to market intelligence firm Newzoo. Most of that cash will come from brands sponsoring events and marketing during livestreams. As this space grows, pro teams like Misfits are continually looks to expand into new games to maximize their revenues. This also gives the Miami Heat organization a way to build loyalty with a younger audience that is increasingly giving its sports-viewing minutes to esports over traditional athletics. The NBA and people related to the league have invested heavily into esports with people like former NBA players like Rick Fox and Shaquille O’Neal buying teams. And just this last week, the NBA announced that certain teams will create their own esports squads to compete in a new league for Take-Two’s NBA 2K games.

“Fates Zero is one of the leading Vainglory teams in North America, and we’re happy to see them continue to compete at the highest level under an established esports organization like Team Misfits,” Super Evil Megacorp chief executive Kristian Segerstrale said. “The Vainglory competitive scene has grown immensely in the past year and with the addition of Misfits, the level of play has never been as intense and demanded as much skill.  Vainglory’s Spring Season will be the most competitive season to date.”

Misfits competes in League of Legends, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Super Smash Bros, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Hearthstone. Those disciplines give the esports company a presence on consoles and PC, but now Vainglory will give it a dedicated route to accessing mobile-gaming fans, which is a market that could continue to grow as emerging nations come alone through their smartphones instead of through personal computers.

“We are excited to enter Vainglory, the leading mobile esport.” Misfits CEO Ben Spoont Miami Heat executive vice president Michael McCullough said in a joint statement. “What attracted us to it was not only being on the frontier of mobile esports, but having the ability to closely work together with a forward-thinking game developer to really create a sustainable ecosystem for all stakeholders from the beginning. Super Evil Megacorp is really committed to working together with orgs and players to accomplish this goal.”

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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