In my last article we looked at options to make electronics more elastic and stretchable. But what about the batteries we need to energize stretchable electronics? Traditional batteries are far way from being elastic, to stretch even a tiny little bit.
A possible solution for stretchable batteries comes from a team of researcher at the Arizona State University. Hanqing Jiang, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering together ASU students Zeming Song and Xu Wang got inspired by the ancient Japanese technique called Kirigami, of folding paper (Kirigami) to create a stretchable battery.
Just folding paper won’t make a stretchable battery, you can only extend but the paper won’t come back to the original position. Hanqing Jiang and team added a twist (literally) to the folding technique to make it bounce back and voila …… the idea of a stretchable battery was born.
The Kirigami battery can stretch up to 150 percent of it’s initial length without changing any of its power supply characteristic. The battery uses Lithium-ion chemistry, same as in the widely used Li-Po batteries most of our gadgets use these days.
To demonstrate the stretchiness the team embedded the Kirigami battery into a elastic armband and hooked the stretchable Kirigami battery up with a smart watch to demonstrate the flawless functionality.
Here is a link to the research paper (will open a PDF document) with all details of the Kirigami battery: Kirigami-based stretchable lithium-ion batteries
I am always amazed and inspired by inventions which are rooted in old techniques but elevated into the cutting edge of technology. Brilliantly simplistic.