Five Reasons Korea’s Flexible Batteries will Revolutionize Gadgets
Scientists at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have developed working prototypes of flexible lithium ion batteries. That’s right, these are the same types of long-lasting, high-capacity batteries that power our laptops, tablets, cell phones and more. But they bend!
Here is Advanced Technology and Design Korea’s list of five ways these flexible batteries will revolutionize gadgets:
1. Roll-up tablets
People have speculated for a long time that flexible e-paper would lead to flexible tablets. But they were forgetting one thing: the other components have to be flexible as well, not just the screen. Flexible circuit boards have been around for a while and batteries stood as the last major obstacle. I predict flexible tablets will be on the market by 2020.
2. Smart clothing
Smart clothing has been another big topic of conversation among futurists but a great looking jacket with a hard, heavy battery sewn into one side is neither attractive nor comfortable. Flexible batteries can distribute the weight over a larger area and won’t require fashion trade-offs.
3. Medical devices
Because conventional batteries have to be solid, they generally had to be kept small for use in implanted medical devices like pacemakers. A larger flexible battery could sit just behind the skin and offer much more time between charges. Right now the average pacemaker battery lasts five to ten years, but with longer life expectancies that may not be enough for many patients.
4. Smaller, better designs
Flexible batteries will allow industrial designers at companies like Samsung, LG and Apple to mold the battery as part of their gadgets. Think of active 3D glasses with long-lasting batteries built into the frames. How about a phone with a flexible back that perfectly molds to your hand?
5. Endless electric cars
Two main factors limit the range of electric cars: battery size and battery weight. Scientists are already tackling the problem of weight. With flexible batteries, new shapes will be possible, allowing them to be larger without taking up more space needed for passengers. Scientists at KAIST, the same university that developed these batteries already developed a technology for embedding inductive electric car chargers into roads. Perhaps marrying the two technologies will be their next challenge. (Also, don’t forget about Korea’s stylish electric bikes.)
Any other thoughts on uses for flexible batteries? Let us know in the comments.