Fidget Spinners in Flames: Mishaps Show Need for New Power Options

(DGIwire) – The last thing anyone wants from a fidget spinner is a third-degree burn. Unfortunately, the risk seems to be a real one. As recently reported in The Telegraph, multiple cases have arisen of Bluetooth fidget spinners—variants of the popular toys with inbuilt speakers that play music streamed from a mobile phone—were found to burst into flames. In two cases—one in Michigan and one in Alabama—the devices were plugged in to charge and the Lithium-ion battery inside overheated.

According to The Telegraph, several high-tech versions of fidget spinners have been found to be defective or unsafe; factory production lines have rapidly switched to making them cheaply and quickly, reported the newspaper, often sacrificing quality and safety checks in the process.

“The rapid rise in popularity of fidget spinners with Lithium-ion batteries—as formerly happened with other Lithium-ion powered toys such as hoverboards—has spotlighted the risks inherent with this power source,” says Stephen Voller, CEO and founder of ZapGo Ltd. “One alternative that could someday ensure greater safety for gadgets of this type is known as Carbon-Ion.”

ZapGo’s Carbon-Ion™ cell technology (Zap&Go) is being developed as the first Carbon-Ion cell that combines the fast-charging characteristics of a supercapacitor and—within a few years—is anticipated to match the energy density of Li-ion batteries, while also being safe and recyclable. Unlike Li-ion, which works by an electrochemical reaction, Zap&Go involves storing electrons with no electrochemical reaction. This means there is nothing to get used up, so Zap&Go cells can last through many more charge and discharge cycles than Li-ion, while staying safe and not at risk for a fire.

ZapGo’s platform technology is planned to be incorporated initially into products such as electric bikes, cordless power tools and robotic cleaners—available for sale starting in late 2017—where the recharge time will be reduced from hours to sub-five minutes.

At CES 2017, ZapGo displayed a range of functioning prototypes with this fast recharge time. Additionally, the company is currently working with a British consortium to develop the next-generation driverless POD—in use at locations such as London’s Heathrow Airport—that will combine traditional Li-ion cells with the company’s Carbon-Ion cells as their power source.

“No parent should ever give their child a toy that has the potential for serious harm,” Voller adds. “Carbon-Ion present the possibility of ensuring that Bluetooth fidget spinners—among many other similar diversions—offer fun without risk.”

 

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