Printed, Stretchable, Rechargeable Battery to Power E-Clothing

Nanoengineers at the University of California San Diego have created a printed zinc battery that is stretchable and rechargeable - ideal for powering wearable sensors. They made the batteries stretchable by incorporating a hyper-elastic polymer material made from isoprene, one of the main ingredients in rubber, and polystyrene, a resin-like component. The batteries can stretch to twice their size, in any direction, without suffering damage. While zinc batteries have been in use for a long time, they are typically non-rechargeable; the researchers added bismuth oxide to the batteries to make them rechargeable. The batteries can be printed directly on fabric or on materials that allow wearables to adhere to the skin. They can also be printed as a strip, to power a device that needs more energy.