Imagine if you could bend your iPhone to make it fit in your pocket better, or roll up your iPad to more easily stuff it in your backpack. Well that day is coming, and it might be sooner than some had thought as EndGadget is reporting that researchers in Korea have invented a battery that can be bent nearly in half. TechCrunch says that the new battery when combined with bendable screens still under development could mean truly bendable devices, or eventually, ePaper that would work like that in the Harry Potter movies.
The researchers, all from the Korean Advanced Institute Of Science And Technology, and led by Keon Jae Lee have come up with a new material to use as the case for the battery, which is one of the parts that up to now have not been bendable, TechCrunch says. The others are the electrodes that allow the electricity to pass in and out. The battery itself, a typical rechargeable lithium-ion unit works the same as other such batteries, namely it has electrodes that allow electricity to pass in and out and lithium to hold the charge. The difference is in the casing used to contain the charge-recharge elements. In this case, they say, the researchers tried all manner of plastics that were both bendable and able to keep the charge from escaping from its case. Also important was that the case be impervious to humidity in the air and to corrosion. The winning formula was a special plastic that is applied in thin films, intentionally misaligned to keep the charge inside the case from finding its way out. To make bendable electrodes, EndGadget says, the team used an organic nano-structured material that is able to withstand repeated bending and unbending. The end result is a fully functional bendable battery suitable for use in a bendable electronic device. And if that’s not cool enough, it’s also clear, meaning if device makers so chose, they could allow the batter to be seen, or in this case, seen through.
Such devices are still some time away however, as bendable screens are still in the research stage, TechCrunch says. Some have been made that actually function but most are either far too expensive to consider using in hand held electronic devices. There’s also the problem of durability. Most researchers in the field are optimistic that solutions will be found to all the current problems however, and expect consumers to have bendable electronics in their pockets as soon as three or four years from now.