This battery can twist like a stick of gum, and might power your next smartwatch

Batteries, while an essential part of our beloved gadgets, are rarely very interesting. It’s even more unusual to say “wow” when you see one. This isn’t the case with ProLogium’s flexible, super thin gadget battery. It can be flexed, bent, twisted, or cut into pieces — and still function as normal. Yep, we did indeed say wow when we saw it in action.

We watched as a pair of scissors chopped off the corners of the battery.

Called an FLCB battery, Prologium describes it as the world’s first bendable lithium battery. This incredibly thin cell has a wide range of uses, but due to its high degree of flexibility it’s ideal for wearable devices. How thin, and how flexible? It’s less than 2mm thick, and the first example we handled was a strip around 5-inches in length. It could be treated like a stick of gum, folded over and then straightened out again. It’s this complete flexibility that sets it apart from similar batteries promoted by LG and Samsung, and gives us hope that battery explosions are a thing of the past.

ProLogium showed the battery inside the strap of a smartwatch, where its capacity could be as high as 1,000mAh. For comparison, the LG G Watch R’s internal battery is rated at 410mAh, and lasts for around two days. The same FLCB battery can be rolled up, or twisted into many other shapes, making it very versatile.

Very safe, even when chopped up

Batteries can be volatile little things, and one shouldn’t go around abusing them with sharp objects. You certainly wouldn’t start cutting them up (they’re known to explode or inflate if damaged). The FLCB battery is a solid-state cell, with the two anodes completely isolated from each other. We watched as a pair of scissors chopped off the corners of the battery. The attached light went out as parts were cut off (the circuit had been broken by the scissors), but amazingly returned again. There’s no chance of explosion, leaks or fire, because there’s no flammable or liquid material inside. In battery terms, it doesn’t get much safer — and safety is exactly what we want from devices attached to our body.

Photo credit: Digital Trends / Andy Boxall
Photo credit: Digital Trends / Andy Boxall

While we tend to think of wearable tech as the ideal home for ProLogium’s flexible battery, we were also shown an insole to go inside a shoe, where the battery powered a heated pad to give you toasty warm feet, without a ridiculous external battery pack. It’s also suitable for connected devices in the home, and any other products with an unusual shape or size.

An early version of ProLogium’s super thin, non-flexible version of the LCB battery made its way into the Power Flip case for the HTC One Max, and it will be fascinating to see which company embraces the new flexible versions. At the moment, it is more expensive than its non-flexible counterparts, but that will change as production increases and flexible components get cheaper.

ProLogium’s next project targets your smartphone

ProLogium’s next major project will be properly revealed later this year, and it’s even more exciting. It’s a Li-Metal battery designed for use in smartphones. A Li-Metal battery promises to extend the standby time seen using a standard Li-ion battery by up to two times, all in a cell which is essentially the same size. ProLogium told us Li-Metal batteries are challenging to produce (and when they say challenging, they mean dangerous), but it has successfully tamed the process where others have failed.

Photo credit: Digital Trends / Andy Boxall
Photo credit: Digital Trends / Andy Boxall

We’ve heard about ambitious projects where our phones will suddenly get longer-lasting batteries before, but they don’t always come true. ProLogium says several companies are interested in adopting the Li-Metal battery, but it’s holding out for a non-exclusive manufacturer deal, so it can ensure its survival should anything unexpected happen. Expect more news during 2015, and hopefully, confirmation of a partner at the same time.

With batteries to potentially make wearables last longer and look better, plus one which could double the standby time on our phones without increasing size and weight, ProLogium is a company we’ll be watching closely over the coming year.

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