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Trashed old laptop batteries recycled to power Bangalore slums

Researchers, including an Indian-origin scientist, from IBM have used discarded laptop batteries to create an emergency lighting system called UrJar for street vendors and slums in Bangalore.

The team, along with a hardware firm RadioStudio, tested three-year-old batteries discarded by an IT company and found that they had enough capacity to power LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights, a small fan or even a mobile charger.

Cutting open the battery packs, and extracting individual cells that could still work, the team reconnected them to make new power units.

Using these battery packs, three UrJar prototypes were created which were handed out to participants to test for some time.

The prototypes come at an average cost of Rs.600, the team found, including an enclosure, the electronics, an LED light bulb and a mobile charger.

“The most costly component in these systems is often the battery,” Vikas Chandan from IBM was quoted as saying in the journal MIT Technology Review.

In this case, the most expensive part of your storage solution is coming from trash, he added.

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