A report released by IDTechEx Research,Flexible, Printed and Thin Film Batteries 2015-2025, outlines how in the next 10 years, thin will be “in.” The market right now is at $6.9M, but is expected to grow to $400M by 2025.
The impetus for this staggering growth is wearable technology, which will account for more than half the market and stands to benefit the most from a power source that can blend into a watch wristband or smart headset with ease.
Anticipating the need for a battery technology that can keep pace with the growth Internet of Things devices and wearables, Apple, Samsung and LG Chem have taken flexible energy storage very seriously. Presently, the batteries cost too much, don’t hold much of a charge and have a poor shelf life.
IDTechEx predicts all that to change with the larger investments in the tech and efforts to reduce devices’ energy consumption.
Last year Samsung rolled out a battery that can wrap around your wrist and is expected to power their next gen wearables similar to the Gear S and Gear Fit. Apple has had flexible battery patents since 2013.
Expect some unexpected uses for flexible batteries in the coming years, as well. Estee Lauder uses a thin, flexible printed battery to aid in the skin absorbing an anti-wrinkle cosmetic, much like a farmer uses a cattle prod to motivate livestock to step more lively. The patch is 10 times faster than a non-charged patch, and works through an effect called iontophoresis.
Another use is sure to please golf enthusiasts who want to improve their swing. A disposable patch developed by Qualcomm and battery supplier Enfucell attaches to a golf club head and measures angle and velocity and then communicates that data to your smart phone. It’s the perfect gift for people who think they can improve their golf game, but are just fooling themselves. And they are very slim, so they make perfect stocking stuffers.
Hopefully by Christmas 2016 there will be some better uses for the tech. We will keep you posted.