Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Sustainable Energy

Battery Booster

Saving power in mobile devices.

Voice transmission and video playback are the biggest power hogs in mobile devices, but skipping some signal-processing tasks could greatly boost battery life without a huge sacrifice in quality. Media files must be decoded during playback, and if a device decoded only 80 percent of the information, it would use only 80 percent as much power. A new technique could cut power consumption even more, says Gang Qu, a computer scientist at the University of Maryland. Peculiarities in coding mean that the processing time–and power–required to decode a block of information varies. Qu and colleagues wrote an algorithm that imposes strict time limits on the decoding process; the decoder skips only the jobs that take too long. In simulations, this approach yielded an 81 percent completion rate but used only 37 percent as much power as decoding everything. Qu says blocks of information requiring longer decoding time may not always be more critical than the rest.

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Sustainable Energy

Can we sustainably provide food, water, and energy to a growing population during a climate crisis?

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning magazine and daily delivery of The Download, our newsletter of what’s important in technology and innovation.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.