Soon, there might be a new type of stretchable battery that can power the upcoming wearable devices. Researchers at Stanford have invented a new type of soft and stretchable battery that will power next-gen wearables.
The new type of battery basically relies on a special type of plastic to store power. The researchers claim that the process is safer than the flammable formulations used in conventional batteries.
“Until now we haven’t had a power source that could stretch and bend the way our bodies do, so that we can design electronics that people can comfortably wear,” said chemical engineer Zhenan Bao, who teamed up with materials scientist Yi Cui to develop the device.
For some time, lithium-ion batteries have used polymers as electrolytes, which is basically the energy source that transports negative ions of the battery to the positive pole. However, the polymer electrolytes come with gels that, in some cases, could leak or burst into flame.
In order to combat this, the Stanford researchers have developed a polymer that is sold in nature and it is stretchable. The material is still able to carry an electric charge between the battery’s poles.
The researchers have revealed that the experimental battery maintained a constant power output even when squeezed, folded and stretched nearly twice its original size. Currently, the prototype is a thumbnail-sized material and it stores roughly half as much energy as found in a similarly sized conventional battery. The researchers are working to increase the density of the stretchable battery and they will run future experiments to demonstrate its performance outside the lab.