Toshiba quietly shows fuel-cell fitted UMPC
CES Toshiba didn't make much of a fuss about its UMPC, claiming the smooth-cornered handheld PC was intended to demo technologies the company develops to potential manufacturer customers. One such technology: fuel cells.
Toshiba's fuel cell-fitted UMPC
Toshiba didn't want to say what the unit's specification was, but we can say it's capable of running Windows Vista. Its shiny-faced casing contains a multi-way navigator to control the cursor and a couple of keys in place of mouse buttons. Presumably there's a tiny Tosh hard drive in there too.
The consumer electronics giant wouldn't let us handle the UMPC, so we couldn't take a crafty peek at Vista Device Manager and System Properties.
How much power will it provide?
All the UMPCs on show were tightly sealed within perspex case but we did spot the words 'Direct Methanol Fuel Cell' on one of them:
Closer inspection revealed the UMPC is not itself equipped with a fuel cell. Rather, Toshiba's built a fuel cell unit into which the UMPC docks, just as it might sit in a desktop sync cradle. The fuel cell sleeve neatly matched the width of the handheld, adding just a few millimetres to the unit's thickness and almost three centimetres to the height.
Think of it as the handheld equivalent of an extended battery pack you might use with a laptop.
Toshiba wouldn't say what capacity the fuel cell has - there's a theme developing here, no? - either in terms of its physical fuel storage space or its operational run time.
re: Rather you than me...
Yes, potassium hyroxide is a lot nastier than methanol. From the same site : http://ptcl.chem.ox.ac.uk/~hmc/hsci/chemicals/potassium_hydroxide.html
Methanol is a dangerous chemical, and potassium hydroxide is a very dangerous chemical. Methanol may cause damage if you're not careful, potassium hydroxide WILL cause damage if you're not careful!
Rather you than me...
Potassium hydroxide nastier than methanol? Maybe if you injected it, but methanol is toxic by inhalation and skin absorption (and ingestion, obviously) as well as being highly flammable. Lethal oral dose for mammals seems to be a few grams per kilo, but you'd see nasty effects with much less - so no, don't try consuming any amount, reasonable or not. I would be very surprised to find significant amounts of methanol in any screenwash on sale in the UK, got a reference?
Highly toxic chemicals like methanol
Most cars had a good litre or so of methanol in their coolant until it was largely replaced by ethylene glycol some years ago. It's still in screenwash and in methylated spirits.
You need to consume a reasonable amount to injure yourself (don't try it!). Most methanol poisoning is from deliberate or accidental misuse as an intoxicant.
The electrolyte in a lot of conventional batteries is potassium hydroxide, which is much nastier.
Fuel cells bah
I want a thermal isotope generator in my laptop.
If it's safe enough for the UK powergrid, then it's safe enough for me. Anyways, it just needs to be strong enough that any non-fatal collision while I'm carrying it doesn't rupture the thing. If the plane/car/skateboard I'm on wipes out with enough force to terminate me, then I'm not really fussed about any leakage, coz I'll be dead.
Just wait for the boom !! If it blows up a city block, then it should be large enough to drive that device for a sizable length of time !!