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Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Evolution of Thin Battery Technology for Wearables

The world's largest consumer electronics companies -- such as Apple, LG and Samsung -- have moved into the development of flexible battery technology, according to the latest global market study by IDTechEx Research.

That recent event is due to progress in the wearable technology market, which will help drive the flexible battery market from $ 6.9 million in 2015 to over $ 400 million in 2025.

Wearable electronics and Internet of Things (IoT) devices will increasingly require superior battery attributes such as thinness, flexibility, light weight and low charging thresholds that will ultimately create new applications.

Indeed, they already have evolved -- as an example, the powered cosmetic skin patch from Estee Lauder using a printed battery can claim to be one of the earliest successes of flexible wearable electronics.

According to the IDTechEx assessment, investment in flexible batteries is one of the key areas of progress for wearable electronics market development.


The first approach has been to reduce the energy consumption of electronics -- such as the CPU and displays -- in addition to making larger components like displays more flexible.

Another direction is the charging method, such as integrating energy harvesting, rapid charging and wireless charging of wearable devices.

Now, wearable technology and IoT require some key parameters for the battery, such as ultra-thinness, small physical footprints, flexibility and light weight which are becoming highly valued.

While there is still progress to be made in both the performance of the battery technology and scaling up manufacturing, new products are appearing at a fast rate.

In April this year Qualcomm unveiled a new product concept at the IDTechEx Printed Electronics Europe event in conjunction with printed battery provider Enfucell.

This is a sensing label for golfers -- stick the label on your golf club and play your game, with the label providing data via an app on your smartphone telling you information such as speed, angle and tempo of each swing. The electronics and battery form a single integrated sensor device.