Fabric-based bio-batteries can power future smart wearable devices
Researchers at Binghamton University have developed a textile bio-battery that can serve as a foundation for future wearable electronics. Researchers led by Seokheun Choi, assistant professor of electrical and computer science at Binghamton University, have developed flexible cells that are said to produce more power than their predecessor, paper-based microbial fuel cells.
Fabric-based batteries still have stable power generation even after repeated twisting and stretching cycles. Microbial fuel cells are considered by some to be the best source of smart wearable devices because microbial cells can act as a biocatalyst, providing a stable enzymatic reaction and long service life. Even sweat from the human body can act as a potential fuel to support the vitality of bacteria. Choi said there is a clear and pressing need for flexible and scalable electronics in the future as it can be easily integrated with a wide variety of environments to collect real-time information. He added that such electronic devices, even when used on complex curvilinear shaped substrates, must also be reliably performed.
Wearable device research and development is still in its infancy, but it is easy to see how batteries of this nature are beneficial. For example, Levi's Commuter Trucker smart jacks utilize removable "snaps" to drive the premium features of jackets. Imagine how well such a smart wearable device could get rid of the drawbacks that require constant charging, if the power is woven directly into the apparel. This invention will be an important milestone for smart wearable manufacturers.