General Electric (GE) wants to replace your laptop's regular fan with a miniature set of bellows it calls Dual Piezoelectric Cooling Jets (DCJ). Initially developed for use in jet engines, the system works a bit like a diaphragm: it expands to pull in hot air before contracting to rapidly expel it, cooling the air in the process. GE says that, in addition to consuming half the power of a regular fan, its new tech is more than half as thin, enabling cooling systems that are only 4mm tall. Because of the comparatively simple construction, it'll apparently offer higher reliability rates than conventional cooling methods as well. The company says DCJ is virtually silent, and will enable "thinner, quieter, and more powerful tablets, laptops, and other electronic devices."
Although other companies have toyed with the idea of piezoelectric fans, GE is attempting to partner with OEMs to bring the technology to the mass-market. It's already fitted an ultrabook with one of the fans in the lab, and has provided a number of companies with demonstration kits for testing the new system in their next-gen products. It's also licensed DCJ out to Japanese firm Fujikura, which is expected to help GE meet manufacturing demands. Despite these steps towards the consumer market, it'll still be some time before we feel the benefits: GE expects DCJ-enabled products to arrive at some point in 2014.