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MTI Micro debuts fuel cell for GPS devices

As CNET reported earlier, fuel cell manufacturer has an embedded methanol fuel cell designed for the navigation gadgets. No word when it will hit the market, though.

Attention mountain climbers, hikers, backcountry skiiers, and city dwellers with no sense of direction: new technology could make your handheld GPS device more energy-efficient and let its battery last longer.

Fuel cell manufacturer MTI Micro announced on Friday that it has created a prototype for an embedded fuel cell for handheld GPS devices.

The company said it will provide three times as much power as a set of four AA batteries would, keeping the GPS gadget in question powered for up to 60 hours of continuous use. That's crucial for many users of handheld GPS devices, who are often navigating territory far away from traditional power sources.

CNET first reported that MTI Micro was working on a fuel cell for GPS devices last month. The embedded methanol fuel cell was ultimately unveiled at the 10th Annual Small Fuel Cells Conference in Atlanta.

MTI Micro's GPS fuel cell, which uses the company's Mobion technology, also has a USB interface so that it can be used as a power source for charging other handheld devices, such as cell phones and cameras. Recharging the cell currently involves filling it up with more methanol.

When these will hit the market is unclear: no time estimate was given for when MTI Micro's fuel cells will actually make it into a GPS device that could wind up in your hands.