Although advances in flexible electronics show a lot of promise for tech such as smart fabrics or bendable smartphones, things can only progress so far if those electronics still incorporate rigid batteries. With that in mind, a number of groups are now developing batteries that are flexible, too. Panasonic has just announced one of its own, which could be on the market soon.
Designed primarily for use in card-type and wearable devices, the company's new 3.8-volt Flexible Lithium-ion Battery is just 0.55 mm thick. It's being made in three sizes/capacities – 17.5, 40 and 60 mAh.
More notably, however, the battery can be repeatedly bent into a radius of 25 mm or twisted to an angle of ±25 degrees and still maintain 80 to 99 percent of its initial capacity, depending on the model – even after 1,000 bends and twists. According to Panasonic, this resilience is due mainly to the battery's laminated outer layer and its "stacked electrode" internal construction.
The Flexible Lithium-ion Battery was unveiled last week at CEATEC Japan 2016, with sample shipments scheduled to start by the end of this month. Panasonic is continuing to develop the technology, with an eye towards getting the battery even thinner before entering full production.