It’s said that one day we’ll enjoy flexible smartphones rather than the solid bricks we use today, but in order for that to happen, there are a number of tech breakthroughs that we’ll need to see. For example, we’ll have to figure out a way to make batteries bendable.
Panasonic thinks it has come up with the solution. While still far from a consumer-ready product, the company has built a battery that’s 0.55-millimeters thick and able to bend as much as 25mm and twist 25 degrees. No, it’s not the foldable battery some were expecting, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
Perhaps even more important than the fact that the battery can bend is that it can withstand bending while still charging and providing power — something that todays lithium-ion batteries cannot do.
While cool, the batteries have a long way to go before we’ll see them in our devices. Panasonic has only built batteries with between 17.5mAh and 60mAh capacities, so if they were to be implemented in a product today, they would really only be able to power extremely low-power smart textiles or smart cards. Still, Panasonic says that it intends to continue developing the tech, so perhaps one day we’ll see it inside a bendable smartphone.
“Panasonic’s new flexible battery can withstand bending and twisting beyond the Japanese Industrial Standards for identification cards,” said the company in a blog post. “When used in card devices such as smart cards and card keys that work on batteries, as well as body worn-devices and smart clothing, this battery can retain its characteristics even if the device is frequently bent or twisted.”
Panasonic isn’t the only company developing bendable tech — Samsung is thought to be prepping a commercially available flexible display at some point in 2017.