A team at Cambridge University has developed a breakthrough battery which could double the life of mobile devices - and make them cost less.
Up to 40% of the the cost of current batteries is taken up by the positive electrode - the cathode - which is normally made of lithium and a metal oxide, usually cobalt, manganese or nickel.
The Cambridge team instead used a composite of sulphur and nanostructured carbon for the electrode.
By doing so they were able to dramatically cut the cost - and achieve double the energy density.
"Using sulphur instead of the materials currently used in lithium-ion batteries could substantially reduce production costs, as sulphur is a fraction of the cost of other materials," said Dr Can Zhang, one of the developers of the material.
"Additionally, compared with conventional lithium-ion batteries, the carbon-sulphur electrodes achieve double the energy density per unit of weight."
The new cathodes are made by growing a "forest" (their word) of carbon nanotubes on a layer of metal foam.
The team explains:
"The CNT forest provides excellent electrical conductivity, and acts as a three-dimensional scaffold into which the sulphur is injected in order to form the cathode.
The sulphur is trapped within the scaffold in the form of small particles which store electrons. The pore structure of the metal foam, combined with the dense vertical packing of CNTs, provides a labyrinth with a large surface area for the retention of electrode material."
The problem with sulphur-based batteries has usually been the low number of charge cycles of which they are capable before needing to be replaced. The new batteries up this number from 80 to 250 - still way behind the contventional battery's 500 cycles, but much closer.
The team are now working on inreasing this number to achieve a commercially viable battery. Over the next two years the 'CamBattery' commercial team will work on building a production machine - with the possibility of handheld devices gaining the tech soon after.
The WildCat Robot
In 2012 Darpa, the American military science research megalab, unveiled this video of a robot which can run faster than a Cheetah. According to some sources, in 2013 they'll be showing off a new version <em>which can run around outside</em>. At which point we'll all bow down and worship our new robot masters.
In October 2013 the European Space Agency <a href="http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Gaia_overview">will launch the Gaia spacecraft</a>, which will create an insanely detailed 3D map of our galaxy and catalogue about a billion stars with its billion-pixel camera. It's a dramatically awesome piece of equipment which could change the way we see our universe over the course of its five-year mission.
Retina iPad Mini
<a href="www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/09/ipad-mini-review-uk_n_2100108.html">The iPad Mini was our favourite tablet of 2012</a>. It's lighter and more beautiful than the bigger version, and it's almost perfect - with one exception: the screen. We expect that to change in 2013 with a Retina model - if Apple can build a big enough battery to fit in the Mini's tiny case.
Next Year it looks almost certain that both Sony and Microsoft will release new gaming consoles. What they'll be like - and what they'll be called - we don't know yet. But you'll definitely want one.
The next Grand Theft Auto is set to be the biggest game of 2013 - and we can't wait to see what it looks like in its final form. From the trailers released so far it seems set to bring new scale, drama and impact to the series.
The new SimCity was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/07/30/simcity-interview-ea-producer-gamescom_n_1718722.htmlhttp://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/07/30/simcity-interview-ea-producer-gamescom_n_1718722.html">the best game we previewed in 2012</a> - and with its release in 2013 it's promising truly seamless multiplayer, complex AI and all-new game modes which could turn the city building game into a truly immersive sandbox.
The <a href="http://www.oculusvr.com/faq/">Oculus Rift virtual reality headset</a> isn't definitely going to ship commercially in 2013. But we should definitely start to see more from developers about how they might use it, and what types of games might be possible. If we do, you should get excited - this could be a whole new world of cool technology.
Bendable Phones (Sigh)
We know, we know. Bendable phones are one of those technologies which has been around for years - <a href="http://ces.cnet.com/8301-34447_1-57559886/samsung-preps-5.5-inch-flexible-phone-screen-for-ces-demo/">despite recent media reports that make it seem as if it's a brand new idea</a>, this picture was taken in 2008! But 2013 might be the year the tech finally hits phones - and even if it doesn't make the handset itself bendy, it <em>will</em> make it more flexible, durable and thinner.
Samsung Galaxy S4
Samsung's flagship device the Galaxy S3 will be superceded by an S4 - or something very, very similar - quite soon into 2013. And while it will likely be just an incremental update in some ways, it could be the first truly breakthrough Android device which shows clear space between it and the latest iPhone. <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/samsung/9750817/Galaxy-S4-is-Samsungs-new-phone-due-in-February.html">Rumours of a 13-megapixel camera, a super HD display</a> and other improvements do make it sound rather tasty - but we'll have to wait and see.
In truth it's probably a long shot, but billionaire Richard Branson thinks his Virgin Galactic space tourism service could launch in December 2013 - with himself and his family as passengers. If it does, <a href="http://www.cnn.co.uk/2012/07/11/tech/branson-farnborough-virgin-galactic/index.html">it will take space travel to a truly new level.</a>
Google Glass 2.0
Google debuted its augmented reality glasses last year, and the 'Explorer Edition' will go on sale to early adopters in 2013. But we also expect other companies to respond - and possibly for Google itself to make a splash in the true consumer space. The tech is still early, but we're getting closer to the next big breakthrough.
4G launched - to most peoples' surprise - in 2012 in the UK. But it won't be until Ofcom's auction takes place early in 2013 that the market really hots up. We'll see a huge broadening of available 4G services in 2013, and only then will it take off to its fullest extent and start to change lives around the country - particularly in rural areas as-yet unreached by traditional broadband.
Comet Of The Century
The Comet Ison could be among the brightest and most intense ever seen, <a href="http://science.time.com/2012/12/20/coming-in-2013-the-comet-of-the-century/">if predictions come to pass.</a> It's set to pass within the Earth and the Sun at the right distance to be visible during the day - possibly emitting as much light as the Moon in a more concentrated pinpoint of light. It could be a spectacular sight - and make for some even more spectacular science.