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Theater subscription service MoviePass snaps up its first film

MoviePass is wasting no time in making good on its plans to invest in films. The company behind the ‘unlimited‘ theater subscription has snapped up crime caper American Animals for $3 million at Sundance. The move sees it share North American distribution rights for the film with indie studio The Orchard, according to Variety.

With a stake in the flick, MoviePass will promote it to its 1.5 million subscribers in the hopes of amassing more customer data, which it will use as leverage with studios and exhibitors. While theater chains such as AMC will continue rooting for it to fail. But, the numbers add up: Flicks that get a push on the MoviePass app receive a 10 percent box office bump. Recent examples include Oscar hopefuls The Post, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and The Shape of Water.

Now, it’s hoping to do the same for American Animals: a buzzy indie film about two childhood friends who plot a daring art heist. The movie has racked up plaudits for the performances of its up-and-coming cast and director Bart Layton’s kinetic style. MoviePass also reportedly lost out to Lionsgate for comedy Blindspotting, but don’t be surprised if it snags more films on the festival circuit.

Source: Variety

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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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