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The stretchable battery could be the next big thing in battery technology, but it’s not quite ready to hit stores tomorrow. A researcher at the University of Illinois named John A. Rogers and a second researcher associated with Northwestern University, Yonggang Huang, came up with the concept and eventually put it into practice the flexible lithium ion battery.

The researchers had worked on the project for several years when they finally hit a goldmine. The new, stretchable batteries will have potential in fields where normal, rigid batteries may not. According to UPI, an example of this would be using the batteries to monitor things like heart activity in the body. This doesn’t really explain how the batteries are able to work, but luckily, that’s where Huang comes in.
"We start with a lot of battery components side by side in a very small space, and we connect them with tightly packed, long wavy line. These wires provide the flexibility. When we stretch the battery, the wavy interconnecting lines unfurl, much like yarn unspooling. And we can stretch the device a great deal and still have a working battery."

In fact, stretching the device a “great deal” is a bit of an understatement. The team figured out how to create a battery that can stretch up to 300% of its original size and still work with no problems. The crew calls this capacity “ordered unraveling,” but despite this crazy capacity, the stretchable batteries are still able to work for eight or nine hours before needing to be recharged.

You can read more about this month’s find in the journal Nature Communications.

Photo Credit @ Yonggang Huang via UPI