Articles

Conformal Battery

Russell Kittel, Krista Smith, Kathryn Chamberlain, Steve Risser, Christopher Jackson, and Megan Moore
Battelle
Columbus, OH

Today's highly mobile world is very dependent upon portable power which means batteries or other electrochemical devices are the primary power source. The energy needed for many devices and applications leads to the batteries consuming a significant portion of the mass and volume allocated to the device, and also imposes significant constraints on the shape and size of the device. Since batteries take up space, one of the most obvious approaches is to have them contribute to the mechanical aspects of the structure. The Conformal Battery approach allows for the battery to be integrated into the structural components of the final product.

Removing the outer battery packaging and using an advanced separator allows the battery to have a thinner profile and enables it to be shaped into many different geometries. The Conformal Battery can be integrated into a product housing without impacting overall rigidity and strength. In addition, the battery is fire-safe.

“We are honored to have been selected Consumer Products Category award winner. This award provides validation that the consumer market is excited to remove the design constraints associated with traditional batteries. We expect the award win will spark conversations with potential commercialization partners, and accelerate the entrance of conformal batteries into the marketplace.”

The electrochemical device may be integrated into a composite or polymer panel suitable for uses such as structural load-bearing panels or sheets for aircraft wings or fuselage, composite armor; unmanned under-water vehicles, torpedoes, missile bodies, consumer electronics, etc.

The conformal battery is a mirrored stack design centered on a dual-sided anode. From the anode moving outward, the components are the safety separator cathode, and outer containment layer. The Conformal Battery has been developed using mostly commercially available materials, enabling a seamless manufacturing process. The design was created to fit seamlessly in current composite material fabrication processes for ease of implementation into final consumer products and beyond.

The Conformal Battery can be used in power-integrated, lighter-weight military gear designed to better aid soldiers; in lower-profile, body-contoured pacemakers for a more comfortable patient experience; or in advanced power tools.

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

GAIA

Brent Chase,
GAIA, Columbia, MD

Hypersensitivity is a common trait of those with autism. Weighted, heavy vests that mimic a hug are used to combat this. GAIA smar t apparel is lightweight and can be worn under clothing to avoid atten- tion. It monitors biometrics of a user such as heart rate, skin con- ductivity, and blood to determine the user’s stress level. Through machine learning, the shirt generates a threshold for stress indi- cators. Once the threshold is surpassed, the device initiates compression of the user, simulating a hug.

For more information, visit here.


Impact Absorbing Gel Infused Exoskeleton (IAGIES)

Melissa Chavez, Justin McGinnity, Cody Piercey, and Tanil Ozkan, PhD,
Texas A&M University,
College Station,TX

The IAGIES (Impact Absorbing Gel Infused Exoskeleton) is a 3D-printed neck mesh exoskeleton. This customizable neck brace distributes stress around the neck optimally through a hollow Voronoi network. Pressure around the neck is uniformly dispersed when the hollow net- work is filled with DivGelTM, an energy absorbing gel. The exoskeleton optimizes helmets, body armor, and protective gear.

For more information, visit here.


SignAloud

Thomas Pryor,
SignAloud,
Seattle,WA

SignAloud is a pair of gloves that can translate sign language into a verbal form instantaneously and in an ergonomic fashion.The gloves are a communication tool for people who may have trouble speaking and for those who use sign language. When wearers sign, the central computer associates their hand positions and gestures to a word or phrase that is verbally spoken.

For more information, visit here.


SkyRunner

Stewart Hamel,
SkyRunner, LLC,
Shreveport, LA, USA

SkyRunner’s technology transforms an all-terrain vehicle into an FAA-certi- fied light-sport aircraft in a matter of minutes.The two-engine vehicle — one for off-road and one for flight — uses ram-air parafoil wing technology to reach air speeds of 40 mph at maximum regulated altitude of 10,000 feet. Once airborne, only two flight controls are required: a single throttle lever to climb/descend, and foot pedals for left/right turns.

For more information, visit here.

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