Imprint Energy develops ultra-thin flexible printed batteries for wearables
Battery startup Imprint Energy has developed a new ultra-thin flexible, rechargeable battery. As a power source this has the potential to revolutionise wearables by allowing makers the freedom to curve their gadgets to match the contours of the human body.
Made via a process similar to ink-jet printing, these zinc-polymer flexible batteries are created with a focus on helping device manufacturers create thinner and more flexible technology which is no longer limited by bulky Li-Ion battery packs. With batteries being one of the main barriers to design flexibility in modern electronics, Imprint Energy aims to sell them to manufacturers of wearable electronics, medical devices, smart labels and even sensors used for environmental monitoring, according to Mashable
The company has recently secured $6 million in funding, helping it take the significant leap in bringing its technology to market. The battery was originally developed using research created at the University of California, Berkeley by co-founder Christine Ho in collaboration with a researcher based in Japan.
These batteries are printed using standard industrial screen printers. The reduction in size compared to standard lithium ion batteries is thanks to the elimination of packaging required to seal off the highly reactive lithium from the environment.
Other advantages of Zinc based batteries include the high density cells which are capable of outperforming conventional lithium-based batteries, low development costs, non-toxic nature and its ability to provide greater stability and capacity for recharging.
There is currently no time frame indicated by Imprint Energy for when the technology will make it to market, but the company has confirmed that funds will be used to speed up development and acquire design wins in the wearables and Internet of Things markets.