Batteries of Panasonic Corp are displayed at an electronics store in Tokyo December 21, 2012. Japan's Panasonic Corp said on Friday that it would appeal a decision by the European Commission to fine it 252 million euros ($327 million) on charges of fixing prices for TV and computer monitor cathode-ray tubes along with five other companies. REUTERS/Shohei Miyano
Researchers working on battery technology have created a battery that can be stretched three times its normal size and still maintain power, the BBC reports.
According to study findings published in Nature Communications, the innovative flat batteries are dotted with "islands" that store energy on a stretchable polymer. While still a work in progress, the stretchable batteries may be a potential break through for powering medical and flexible electronic devices.
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Flexible electronic consumer goods are rare mainly because they have been plagued by battery problems.
"Batteries are particularly challenging because, unlike electronics, it's difficult to scale down their dimensions without significantly reducing performance," senior author of the study John Rogers, of the University of Illinois, said.
In order for the stretchable battery to be functional, Rogers and a team of researchers from Northwestern University came up with a new concept using "serpentine" connections, which are wires looped repeatedly in S shapes. As the battery stretches the loops straighten but maintain some slack and don't lose power.
Researchers say the battery can be charged wirelessly, adding that it can be used in a number of practical ways.
"The most important applications will be those that involve devices integrated with the outside of the body, on the skin, for health, wellness and performance monitoring," Rogers told BBC.