It's about to get a lot harder to mail most tech gadgets overseas. Starting May 16, the USPS is banning the overseas shipping of all kinds of lithium-ion batteries. The reason for this is that lithium-ion batteries, when fully charged or improperly stored, can burst into flames, which isn't good. The ban doesn't sound too bad when you put it that way, but when you realize that tablets, smartphones, laptops, portable gaming devices, and MP3 players frequently use lithium-ion batteries, it starts to sound a little more intense.
Pretty much everything nowadays uses a lithium-ion battery, and they seem to work alright, right? Well, a team of engineers from Northwestern University have put some effort into seeing if they could improve upon the norm. Miraculously enough, they seem to have stumbled upon a discovery that could not only allow lithium-ion batteries to charge ten times as fast as they do now, but also last up to ten times as long. Even after hundreds of charges, this new battery prototype remains at least five times faster than any brand new battery you could get today.