Charging up Smart Fabrics with a woven battery

Wearable Power, the seamless, unobtrusive integration of electrical power storage or generation into woven structures – speak fabrics – is a highly active area in wearable tech research and development.

A team of scientists at the Polytechnic School of Montreal, Canada led by Maksim Skorobogatiy has joined the race for wearable power with a highly promising technology that might be able to get a good electrical charge into our smart wardrobe sooner than many might have expected.

The team came up with a type of Li-Ion battery chemistry which is not based on the usual liquid electrolytes but made of solid thermoplastic sheets of lithium iron phosphate cathodes, lithium titanium anodes sandwiched between solid polyethylene oxide electrodes.

Strips cut from the sheet are woven into fabrics, integrating a electrical power storage capability into textiles. The battery strips have the consistency and feel of leather which can make it useful for certain types of fabrics to blend into them seamlessly.

One hurdle the team has still to work out is to make this battery thread/strip water proof so it can be used for fabrics exposed to the elements.

More details about this revolutionary wearable power development can be found under this link (pdf document).

The woven battery of Maksim Skorobogatiy’s team is the most exiting wearable power development I have seen for a long time because of two noticeable features: for one, it is not requiring liquids which are highly susceptible of leaking, especially when incorporated into soft, flexible structures such as fabrics. Secondly, judging on the build process of this battery stripes, it looks fairly simple to fabricate and to feed into a weaving process.

Realistically maybe not yet ready for fabrics used to make garments but certainly for powered messenger bags, backpacks and fashion bags to keep the smart devices charged up longer with smart and powerful fabrics.

[via New Scientist]

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