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Engineering Materials
Flexible Batteries Power Flexible Displays
8/28/2012

A flexible inorganic, thin-film lithium-ion battery made of all solid-state materials delivers enough energy density to power this bendable display. (Source: Nano Letters)
A flexible inorganic, thin-film lithium-ion battery made of all solid-state materials delivers
enough energy density to power this bendable display.
(Source: Nano Letters)

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Cadman-LT
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Re: This is Big.
Cadman-LT   9/19/2012 5:06:08 PM
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I agree, this is a big deal for sure. I remember seeing roll-up screens somewhere a few years ago, this would be a perfect fit for that.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: This is Big.
Ann R. Thryft   9/4/2012 12:35:41 PM
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Jim, thanks for acknowledging what a big deal flexible batteries are. You're right, I guess we tend to get distracted by the flexible displays. But the real innovation is in the batteries, and you've clearly described what they bring to portable electronics design.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: very cool
Ann R. Thryft   9/4/2012 12:33:17 PM
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Jim, it was only a half tongue-in-cheek comment. I was surprised to learn how roughly electronics are treated by some young people, especially DVDs. Gee, thanks for all those scratches on my rental movie! Since ruggedization of removable media and systems is costly, it's usually only the military and industrial versions of electronics that get that protection.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: This is Big.
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   9/4/2012 9:48:45 AM
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Charles, having the ability to create a new product architecture knowing the battery is no longer a rectangular block will allow product designers much flexibility.  I've been developing hand-held and portable electronic products for a long time and the very first considerations to a products' overall size, weight and form-factor are (1) the battery and (2) the display.  Defining those two elements is an 'up-front' task that must be thoroughly specified before you can begin product layout.

Regarding your question if flexible displays always require a flexible power source, well, no;  not at all.  But when concept products show-casing flexible display technologies first started showing up at CES about 10 years ago, the product architects were constrained to designing with rectangular prismatic Lithium-Ion cell packs; and those large cumbersome bricks put a real damper on the big "Gee-Whiz" effect of the flexible displays (think arm-bands, or wrist-worn items for example).

As mentioned, there are several technologies which allow for flexible displays, but never before have designers had the capability for the entire product architecture to fully exploit this new characteristic. So, if displays can bend, and the motherboards are fabricated on flex circuits, it now gives hope that a power source could match the curve of the entire product and become thin, form-fitting and very compelling to new market applications.

Charles Murray
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Re: This is Big.
Charles Murray   8/29/2012 6:28:07 PM
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JimT: What are a few of the applications for the flexible power source? Does a flexible power source always get used in a flexible display? Or can the application itself be non-flexible but still need the flexible power source?

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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This is Big.
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   8/29/2012 1:11:30 PM
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Reading thru most of the blogger comments so far, I think many of us are commenting on the flexible display as opposed to the real breakthrough of the flexible power source.  I was developing advance concepts for flexible displays over 10 years ago – (both electrophoretic bi-stable displays {e-ink}, and Mylar-based Liquid crystal).  But a HUGE roadblock was the lack of a flexible power source.  This article is reporting on something very big.  When you compare  the advancement curves of various technologies over the past several decades, (RF Protocols, Miniaturization, Displays, Rapid Prototyping, Batteries, etc.) the battery advancement is -- by far -- the least impressive.  This development will certainly put a spike in that curve.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: very cool
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   8/29/2012 1:11:01 PM
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Ann- I know you make the reference to Toddler-Tested Electronics at DARPA as "tongue-in-cheek", but I don't think you're very far off--- After a recent focus group which interviewed military personnel on the likes/dislikes of a new prototype, it was documented that many of the intended military "users" would be young enlisted men ages 18 & 19, who, or course are fresh from the Gaming-Generation, and tend to be pretty rough on electronics.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: very cool
Ann R. Thryft   8/29/2012 12:05:01 PM
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Nadine, that's a perfect app for flexible electronics in general, including displays. Kids manhandle everything anyway, so why not make electronics more damage-proof? A new definition of ruggedized: is it toddler-proof? Wonder if DARPA is testing stuff on toddlers yet.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: very cool
Ann R. Thryft   8/29/2012 12:04:05 PM
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Yes, Chuck, just a few apps since then :) For flexible displays, the apps I see mentioned most often are watches and other wearable computers, medical devices, and signage. I think Nancy's right: once the tech is available, they will be all over the place and we'll wonder how we ever did without them.

wbswenberg
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Gold
Plastic Batteries
wbswenberg   8/29/2012 11:22:47 AM
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I can remember reading about two potential plastic battery technologies more than a decade ago.  I'm not talking about using plastic as an armature.  There were two developments; one was more like a cap for charge storage; the other was like an organic plastic.  I can also remember about film batteries which was more like plastic armature with the media deposited on the plastic film.

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