By Michael Thomsen For Dailmail.com
Published: 19:25 GMT, 27 January 2020 | Updated: 19:25 GMT, 27 January 2020
Researchers at Stanford Engineering have developed a flexible new battery housed in plastic that will be able to stretch and bend in the same ways human bodies do.
The team believes the new device could be useful in the growing market for wearable computing devices like fitness trackers and smart watches, providing a lightweight power source that can adapt to a wide range of sizes and applications.
In conventional lithium ion batteries, particles of plastic, called polymers, are used to conduct negative ions toward the battery’s positive pole, creating power for any device they're connected to.
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Researchers at Stanford have developed a stretchy new battery (pictured above) that can be pulled to twice its original length with no interruption to its power supply
In lithium ion batteries, those polymers take the form of gels housed in a rigid casing, a system that has proven flammable in the past.
The Stanford team say their new battery have converted these polymers into a solid and stretchy substance instead of a gel, which makes its battery both more flexible and less flammable.
Importantly, the battery's ability to deliver power doesn't change based on the shape it's pulled or pressed into.
The team stretched the battery out to twice its original length and found no corresponding power loss.
‘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,’ chemical engineer Zhenan Bao told Stanford Engineering magazine.
The prototype version of the battery is around the size of a thumbnail and stores around half the energy of a conventional battery of the same size.
Researchers hope to continue developing the technology to be able to store even more energy ounce per