Many of the top e-Paper companies have developed flexible display screens that are relevant in smart watches and e-readers. The big problem is many of the internal components are not flexible, which results in bulky and cumbersome products. A new California startup has is developing a long-lasting, bendable, and rechargeable battery.
Imprint Energy, of Alameda, California, has been testing its ultrathin zinc-polymer batteries that are printed cheaply on commonly used industrial screen printers.
The batteries that power most e-Readers and smartphones contain lithium, which is highly reactive and has to be protected in ways that add size and bulk. This is why e-readers such as the Wexler Flexx One really never took off, although the screen was bendable the large battery prevented it from being truly flexible.
Brooks Kincaid, the company’s cofounder and president, says the batteries combine the best features of thin-film lithium batteries and printed batteries. Such thin-film batteries tend to be rechargeable, but they contain the reactive element, have limited capacity, and are expensive to manufacture. Printed batteries are nonrechargeable, but they are cheap to make, typically use zinc, and offer higher capacity.
3D printed batteries that are flexible and can be printed on a screen protector is especially compelling. e-Reader companies could eliminate the traditional Lithium Ion batteries and cut down on the weight of the device by almost half. This new technology could pave the way of a simple screen protector powering your eBook reader and when its low on juice, pop another one on.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.