Researchers have developed a new solar powered battery, capable of changing its shape to fit various flexible forms.
The University of Illinois, Northwest University, and researchers in South Korea and China developed the battery. The team says the battery could transform the wearables market by lowering the space required for a battery, a big benefit for e-skin and e-clothes products.
“The components are electronically connected via flexible copper-polymer interconnects, mounted on a highly elastic silicone core, and enclosed within a silicone shell,” the team said. “The resulting system could stretch up to 30 percent without detectable loss in solar power generation.”
While we have heard of battery breakthroughs in the past that have led to nothing, this team seems confident that companies in the wearable market will look into the new flexible battery.
“The authors demonstrated the use of these systems for continual logging and wireless transmission of body temperature data in a variety of realistic scenarios, such as monitoring skin temperature during physical exercise and bathing, and measuring temperature changes during breathing.”
Battery to aid discreet health wearables the most?
Inconspicuous wearables could be a major benefit in the health market. Products like a smart t-shirt or trousers may provide more information on your health and fitness than a wearable only able to check your pulse.
The big step is making those wearables blend into normal clothes, something the e-clothes industry has been unable to do so far. The battery may also be a welcome addition to the e-skin market, with researchers recently creating a much longer lasting tattoo that changes color and can even track things like UV rays and heart-rate.
Wearables are still a young market, but with 67 percent growth from 2015 to 2016, more companies are starting to see the potential of devices able to gather more data on the customer.