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RIM gets funky, patents fuel cell manufacture for mobile devices

Zachary Lutz

If the engineers in Waterloo have their way, your future mobile handset may be able to recharge itself on-the-go with the help of fuel cells. A new patent from RIM describes a method of manufacture that sandwiches a fuel cell assembly between the keyboard and printed circuit board, wherein the fuel cell ventilates through the keyboard (and likely, channels in the keys themselves). The claims describe the PCB as being formed on the fuel cell -- perhaps in effort to reduce size -- to which a fuel tank is then located beneath the printed circuit board. It seems that users will be able to initiate the fuel cell assembly in some manner, as the claims also describe a conductive, metallic plunger on at least one of the keys that's able to fit through a hole within the fuel cell. One omission we've spotted right off the bat is a lack of description of how the fuel tank is filled, so perhaps we'll learn that tidbit another day.

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