Japan has given us many innovations. This one is straight out of Star Trek or Star Wars. Panasonic Corporation (TYO:6752) has just revealed a bendable battery at Ceatec, the technology fair in the country.
These lithium ion batteries have a 25 mm bendable radius. The twist angle is up to 25 degrees and these batteries are 0.55 millimeters thick. They can survive these deformations without any impact on their ability to maintain charge, which is presently a problem with normal lithium-ion batteries. The characteristics of these batteries will be retained even after they are bent repeatedly.
These are small batteries, and so, cannot be used in smartphones that are power intensive. They can currently hold between 17.5 mAh to 60 mAh charge. The recently released Apple’s iPhone 7 on the other has a battery with 1,960 mAh, which is obviously much more powerful. But that can change one day, as the company is investing more time and resources in research and development.
Where the Batteries Will Be Used
As of now, they cannot be used in wearable devices such as smart clothing, fitness bands, and watches. Panasonic though has revealed that the company is in the early stages of developing these batteries. It will be sometime before they are finally released for commercial use. Their power could also be increased by then.
One day, in a few years, these batteries could be used for powering a bendable phone.
The technology can also be used in smart-cards, where the internal components have to withstand twisting and bending, as they are carried often in pockets and wallets. However, they degrade when they are flexed. Also, we have had curved smartphones for a while. However, we still don’t have foldable displays. They have remained conceptual.
Panasonic Is Not Alone
Experts have said that this is an exciting development. Of course, there are other businesses too that are working on this at this time apart from Panasonic (TYO:6752). For instance, it was learned that both Samsung and LG of South Korea are investing a lot of money to come out with flexible technologies such as screens and batteries. Both these companies have already come out with bendable televisions. That came out a couple of years back.
Panasonic will start to ship out samples of this new bendable battery by the end of this month. They are going to collect feedback after this and include the findings in their further development. It’s only after this that the company will start mass production.