Wearable Tech World Feature Article
January 22, 2013

Korean Researchers Develop World's First Bendable Battery

The one technology that seems to be lagging behind all others in terms of mobile technology is battery technology. For something like a smartphone, this means that newer, more powerful hardware can't run as long on older battery technology, but in the case of wearable technology, the situation gets even more complicated since a hot, large battery really tends to limit comfort.

However, researchers in Korea may have developed the perfect solution to this in the form of the world's first imprintable, bendable lithium-ion battery. Apparently, this battery uses nanomaterials that can be applied to any surface to create "fluid-like polymer electrolytes."

Image via Shutterstock

The research team was led by professor Lee Sang-young of Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology and included nine other distinguished scientists from in and outside of Korea, including professor John A. Rogers of the University of Illinois, Younggi Lee and Gwangman Kim of the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) and Eunhae Gil of Kangwon National University. The research was funded by the South Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation of Korea.

According to Lee, this new battery may also do away with the issue of battery heat as it is not only bendable, but also much more stable than traditional lithium-ion cells.

“Conventional lithium-ion batteries that use liquefied Electrolytes had problems with safety as the film that separates the electrolytes may melt under heat, in which case the positive and negative may come in contact, causing an explosion,” Lee said in a statement.

“Because the new battery uses flexible but solid materials, and not liquids, it can be expected to show a much higher level of stability than conventional rechargeable batteries.”

With a breakthrough like this, it isn't hard to see analyst predictions for the wearable technology market come true. For example, Juniper Research predicted that the market will hit $1.5 billion by 2014, up from $800 million in 2012, while Transparency Market Research sees the market hitting $5.8 billion in 2018.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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