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Ahn Young-joon / AP

A small San Diego-area company named Amionx plans to reveal a new technology later on Tuesday that it says can be put into smartphones and prevent standard lithium-ion batteries from overheating. Amionx is a spinoff of American Lithium Energy Corp. which has used the technology in more than 20,000 batteries for the military. Former Qualcomm president Steve Altman is an investor and president of Amionx's board of directors.

What's new about it: Ahead of the announcement, Amionx executives told Axios they have developed a fuse that kicks in when a battery hits a certain voltage, temperature or current threshold. That prevents problems caused by external heat, overcharging or an internal short. The approach, the company tells me, adds minimal cost and can be integrated into traditional battery manufacturing techniques and could be commercially ready in as little as six months.

The key question is whether the smartphone manufacturers will find Safe Core as appealing as Amionx makes it sound. The company is relying on licensing its technology to others and so far the company has yet to sign on any of the major phone makers.

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Congress grants waiver for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to lead Pentagon

Defense Secretary nominee Lloyd Austin. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Both chambers of Congress on Thursday voted to grant retired Gen. Lloyd Austin a waiver to lead the Pentagon, clearing the path to confirmation for President Biden's nominee for defense secretary.

Why it matters: Austin's nomination received pushback from some lawmakers, including Democrats, who cited a law that requires officers be out of the military for at least seven years before taking the job — a statute intended to reinforce the tradition of civilian control of the Pentagon.

McConnell proposes February impeachment trial

Sen. Mitch McConnell Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is proposing that the impeachment trial of former President Trump begin in mid-February to allow for due process.

Why it matters: The impeachment trial is likely to grind other Senate business to a halt, including the confirmation process for President Biden's Cabinet nominees.