Researchers at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in Korea have developed, what they claim to be, the world's first imprintable and bendable lithium-ion battery. The move should hasten the adoption of mobile devices with flexible displays, such as Samsung’s Youm flexible OLED, and potentially other flexible devices that are beginning to emerge.
This is an interesting breakthrough in terms of mobile devices and paves the way for the next wave of displays, which will add flexibility to the already impressive innovation that exists. While I don't think this is quite such a revolutionary technology as the touchscreen, it will, once commercialized, have an impact on the future design of phones and tablets.
Elizabeth, I think it will go beyond phones and tablets. In the past year Design News has reported on various fabrics and clothing with embedded electronics. A flexible battery seems a perfect power source for smart clothing.
Duh, I didn't even think of that, TJ, but of course! And I actually reported on some of these electronic-embedded fabrics etc. It didn't occur to me at the time this would be a good application, but you're right, it certainly would make these types of things much more comfortable to wear by eliminating the need for a hard, bulky battery.
There are a lot of apps for a bendable battery aside from displays and touch screens, and they somewhat parallel the apps for bendable displays themselves: smart fabrics, wearable electronics, conformable signage, for example.
Elizabeth, it seems that now a day's all inventions are happening in a similar direction to bent the existing technology. Last month we read about foldable screen and now about batteries. Hope this will lead to a technology to bendable devices, so that we can bend and keep the device in our wallet or hand bag.
Ann, you are right. Wearable & portable electronic devices may be more benefitable because the devices become handier and hence easy to carry either in pouch or hand bag. How about the durability or life time of such cells/battery when it becomes bendable?
Interesting observation, and you're right. It seems for awhile that device design was going in the direction of thinner, smaller and more sleek. Now that a lot of companies have got that down, it's time to make them flexible. I look forward to see where this trend will take us.
Wearable Li-ion batteries, that's cool, but won't be so cool if they overheat and light your heated jacket on fire! Laptops, Chevy Volt, airplanes, etc. are pretty good indicators that Li-ion has its drawbacks. Now, imagine, someone's kid gets burned, even a little bit while wearing his cool LED jacket, or the coat room burns up during a night out. Dunno...I think that Li-ion tecnology will have a ways to go yet before we can ubiquitously start putting it into flammable, wearable goods. Try putitng a 9V dry cell in your pocket with a bit of change...yeowch!
As manufacturers add new technologies to their products, designing for compliance becomes more difficult. Prepare for the certification testing process. Otherwise, you increase the risk of discovering a safety issue after a product leaves the assembly line. That will cause significant time-to-market delays, be much costlier to fix, and damage your brand in the eyes of customers.
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