A flexible battery system that bends and stretches like a snake is expected to have a wide range of uses in soft robotics and wearable electronics. The malleable energy storage solution engineered at Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM) connects small batteries to form an overlapping scale-like structure that can bend and morph with the host device.

Hexagonal-shaped lithium-ion battery cells serve as the scales, which are linked with polymer and copper materials that use a hinge mechanism to fold and unfold. The shape of each bioinspired battery cell is optimized to achieve high capacity per a unit size, and the devices can be produced by cutting and folding flexible electrodes with a manufacturing process inspired by the art of origami.

The stretchable lithium battery was demonstrated to maintain its performance even when subjected to a stretching ratio of 90% and a 10 mm radius bending curve across more than 36,000 charge/discharge cycles.

A paper describing the serpentine power supply is published in Soft Robotics.

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