In recent years, electronic devices have migrated into all sorts of strange areas — smart underwear, for instance, that can measure your heart rate, calorie consumption, and posture. As such, batteries are changing too.
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have developed a new kind of stretchy battery specifically designed for wearable devices and clothing that require more flexibility than old-school electronics. In fact, the engineering team has come up with two new stretchy battery designs that can expand, contract, and bend while preserving the cost-efficiency and safety of traditional batteries.
Originally developed by Alla Zamarayeva, a Ph.D candidate at the university, the batteries use helical springs in a stretchable S-shape or flexible linear wire that can be incorporated into clothing, bracelets, and other wearable objects. The batteries can also be used for certain medical devices.
“We developed stretchable batteries to power stretchable wearable electronics, including devices for health monitoring and sensing,” Zamarayeva said. “Having electronics in a stretchable format provides comfort to the wearer and often improves signal to noise ratio of the sensors, if the electronics is worn directly on the skin.”