Lithium batteries are basically everywhere these days — but they could soon be heading for your clothes if new research pans out.

Researchers at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University have developed a thin and flexible lithium battery — replacing the current bulky batteries.

According to the research published in the Nature Communications journal, the team were able to develop a battery with high energy density of more than 450 watts per pound, a bending radius of less than 1mm and foldability of over 1000 cycles.

Existing bendable lithium batteries can only reach a bending radius of 25mm with an energy density of just 200Wh/L.

The applications for such technology include healthcare monitoring, intelligent textiles, smartphones, GPS systems and IoT technology.

The battery, which is less than 0.5mm thick, also reportedly possesses fast-charging capabilities and a longer life cycle when compared to conventional lithium batteries.

Lead researcher, Professor Zheng Zijian, said wearables was the most practical application of the new battery.

“Wearable technology has been named as the next global big market opportunity after smartphones. Global market revenues for wearable devices are forecasted to grow by leaps and bounds, of over 20% annually, to reach US$100 billion by 2024,” he said.

“As all wearable electronics will require wearable energy supply, our novel technology in fabricating Textile Lithium Battery offers promising solution to a wide array of next-generation applications, ranging from healthcare, infotainment, sports, aerospace, fashion, IoT to any sensing or tracking uses that may even exceed our imagination of today.”


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