Batteries have a long history that started more than two centuries ago, but scientific developments in this field are far from stagnant. In fact, the last two decades have seen a frenzy of invention since the first lithium ion polymer battery was released in 1997. Although this advancement created a boom in personal electronics and other novel products, researchers have not stopped working on new, innovative solutions.
Battery technology is under constant development as manufacturers strive find the thinnest, smallest, or most flexible batteries for their products. Form factor flexibility, power, cost, shelf life and safety continue to be primary factors as new battery technologies emerge.
The Future of Battery Technology
Some of the battery technology trends you can expect to see include:
Customization is the name of the game – Custom battery engineering allows R&D teams to fit the battery to the product, rather than the traditional method of designing an object around a battery with a specific size and shape. This opens new doors for batteries with non-conventional shapes that are truly the best fit for the application.
Lithium is not the only solution – Lithium polymer batteries changed the landscape of electronics, but they are not the technological endgame. Because they require expensive safety electronics and provide less form factor flexibility, lithium polymer batteries may not the best solution for many applications, such as disposable consumer products, and medical devices.
Flexibility fosters forward thinking – Flexible thin film batteries will continue to be a focus in the development of new technologies to support the high interest in wearable electronics, smart packaging, and biomedical applications. Both disposable and rechargeable battery solutions are possible solutions depending on the end use, and bringing down the cost is a priority.
Bio-compatibility breeds success – The number of medical applications that can benefit from bio-compatible battery power is endless. Whether the end product is ingestible, adheres to the skin, or is implanted into body tissue, the battery must be safe, reliable, and meet the desired power specifications. Miniature, thin film, and traditional form factors all have potential use in medical applications if they are bio-compatible. Examples include pill cameras that can be swallowed by patients and implantable neurostimulators.
Wireless recharging is a winner – Batteries that can be recharged without plugging in a device are becoming increasingly popular with consumers and businesses. Wireless recharging mats are widely available to consumers, and they can also be used in supply chains to charge the thin film batteries in smart packaging. The future of battery technology will include improving wireless recharging ability.
As the quest for cheaper, safer, smaller, and thinner batteries continues, product designers are waiting anxiously. Every company wants to produce the next big thing in their industry, and battery technology just might be the key to unlocking that success.
If you are interested in learning more about emerging battery technologies, or if you have a specific application that needs an innovative battery solution, get in touch with FlexEl today to see if our technology is a good fit for your project requirements.