Your fitbit could get leaner thanks to this plastic battery that can stretch

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  • This new battery technology could allow companies to design thinner smartwatches and fitness bands.
  • It could also allow companies to launch new healthcare devices as thin as a strip, allowing them to track various vital statistics of their users.
Stanford researchers have come up with a special stretchable battery that is made out of plastic. This new battery technology is safer and could revolutionize the world of wearables forever.

Wearables have gone from being gimmicky accessories to useful gadgets that help keep track of your health and fitness activities. But most wearables have one thing in common – they are bulky and don’t always look as good.

That could change now, thanks to stretchable batteries. Designed specifically for wearables, this new battery uses a special type of plastic that stores power.

Although use of polymers in batteries is not new, it has so far been used in a gooey, flowable gel form. This gel runs the risk of being leaked or bursting into flames.

The new polymer (plastic) developed by Stanford researchers is solid and stretchable. This allows the battery to be moulded in the shape of the wearable. Potentially, this could allow extremely thin wearables to be launched, changing the face of the wearables industry forever.

"Until now we haven't had a power source that could stretch and bend the way our bodies do so that we can design electronics that people can comfortably wear," said Zhenan Bao, member of the team at Stanford that is behind this new stretchable battery.

Making wearables sleeker than ever before

Essentially, you could have a wearable device with the thickness of a strip that wraps around your wrist without being bulky. This can be used to track various vital statistics of users, which could give rise to an entirely new chain of healthcare devices in the future.

Although this new battery technology seems exciting, it still has a long way to go. Currently, it can store only half as much power as compared to traditional batteries. Apart from this, the prototype developed is merely the size of a thumbnail.

For this technology to be commercially viable, researchers will have to improve its capacity as well as size.

See also:

A startup run by a Tesla veteran and backed by Bill Gates is promising to build a long-duration battery that's 50-100 times cheaper than lithium-ion

Power Line: Investors bet on plasma hotter than the sun, and long-lasting batteries brought to you by Bill Gates
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