Canon DSLR fuel-cell patent; is MTI Micro their hardware partner?

May 19, 2008
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Canon have filed a patent that describes a compact fuel-cell system primarily intended for DSLR cameras but that has potential for inclusion in other portable electronics.  The filing details the company's solution to dealing with variances in load currents, an issue in applications such as DSLRs where sudden surges in power draw are frequent.  It uses a number of individual fuel cells combined, with a DC-DC converter that combines the voltages as required.

While no suggestion of how the system - described by Canon as "smaller and lightweight" compared to existing fuel cells - could be included in the camera is given, it's possible that a similar arrangement to MTI Micro's Mobion fuel cell prototype could be used.  In fact, MTI Micro have recently announced that they are working with a Japanese digital camera maker, as yet unspecified, to produce commercial products based upon their prototype DSLR grip power pack.  Mobion can provide twice as much power as similarly-sized traditional battery packs, and is "recharged" by slotting in a new methanol pack.

Both Sharp and Sonyhave recently announced their own fuel cells, although it's as yet unclear which - if any - gadgets they intend to include them in.  We're also yet to see a standardized methanol packs, which would probably be necessary if fuel cells are to seriously rival traditional batteries.

[via Photography Bay]


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