back to article Korean boffins crack art of bendy batteries

South Korean boffins have discovered the secret to flexible, shape-conforming lithium ion batteries in what could be a major step on the road to flexible smartphones. The researchers, led by professor Lee Sang-young of South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, made the discovery by developing “fluid-like …

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Headmaster

" “shape-conformable” polymer electrolytes." Hmm......Might this not pave the way........

...........for larger volumes of battery in a mobile phone case? By that I mean that if it is possible to (so to speak) "cast" the battery in the casing (as if the casing were a mould) such that the battery occupies otherwise unused volume because is not rigid and not imposing its own shape of the process of constructing the phone it surely would mean more battery in a given case size. IE A larger charge capacity for a phone of a given size than is possible with a conventional rigid battery. In principle one could imagine that the back half of the phone would be in a certain sense "all battery". Just a thought.

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Re: " “shape-conformable” polymer electrolytes." Hmm......Might this not pave the way........

Maybe even make the battery the case.

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Meh

Useful

A bendy phone with vibrate accessory would have many many uses.

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Thumb Up

@Oengus "Maybe even make the battery the case" Absolutely, in fact if the "back half"....

............was all battery one could achieve very efficient use of case volume but at the same time have changeable batteries. Or, (to pick up directly on your suggestion and accepting non-changeable batteries), if the entire case construction excluding (of course) the screen were the battery that might pave the way for phones with a charge capacity not currently achievable.

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A bendy phone with vibrate accessory would have many many uses...

I can only think of one.

Oh, and making phone calls too, I suppose......

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Re: Might this not pave the way........

I'm not sure it will help, because phone designers still appear to prioritise thinness over usefulness - all that's going to happen is that you get a thinner phone. I have no idea WHY they do this, because I found that adding a battery-equipped case does not that much to weight or "looks", but massively improves the phone's usability as you don't spend half the day looking for power sockets - a problem that is only get worse with higher data use and 4G when they get it to work.

So, hurray for new technology, but unless we make it clear to the manufacturers that we'd actually like a full day's use out of a single charge it's not going to charge much..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: " “shape-conformable” polymer electrolytes." Hmm......Might this not pave the way........

Brilliant. More phones like the Apple iPhone, where user serviceable and expiring parts like batteries are completely non-user replaceable parts, forcing everyone to bin the phone or pay a premium just to replace a duff battery.

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Boffin

Re: @Arctic Fox

Nokia used to do this extensively in the '90s, with phones like the 6310 and 7110. It had the disadvantage that the batteries were phone-specific, but worked well otherwise, and bigger batteries were routinely available.

GJC

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Anonymous Coward

Re: " “shape-conformable” polymer electrolytes." Hmm......Might this not pave the way........

>Cast batteries into phones?

Components are already tightly packed into phones, so casting batteries would only make them significantly bigger if the rest of the phone was poorly designed.

@ Fred Flintstine

> Your handle suggests you area bloke, and a burly bloke at that. I know people who think their Nokia candy bar is too heavy. Phones with big batteries, or replaceable batteries exist - the Motorola Droid Max, or Sony TX. If want a battery life of a week, use a dumbphone for calls and a tablet for internetty stuff.

@AC

Ditto- if you want a phone with a replaceable battery, then buy a phone with a replaceable battery.

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Re: " “shape-conformable” polymer electrolytes." Hmm......Might this not pave the way........

If want a battery life of a week, use a dumbphone for calls and a tablet for internetty stuff.

I hate to point this out, but that sort of ruins the original concept of a smartphone :).

As it happens, I have a shell on my phone with an extra battery so it lasts a whole day without charge provided I don't leave Skype running, and I'm amazed at how that transforms my use of the phone. It's almost like having a Nokia 6310 again, but with data. Interesting is that also female friends of mine love it (they bought similar shells on my advice), so I guess the weight thing isn't that much of an issue (and I think I sometimes carry less in my rucksack than some women carry in their handbags, but I digress).

So, back to the original point: I'd love a smartphone with a battery that lasts instead of the always slimmer trend. My other phone is an old Motorola RAZR V3i (for "travel" SIMs), and that one lasts *days* with a single charge, despite its age (it still runs the original battery)..

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Devil

In terms of benefiting from bendiness, a phone isn't the battery operated device I immediately thought of.

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coming soon...

Salvador Dalí phone?

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WTF?

Flexible phones.... why?

How is a flexible phone going to be any better than a rigid phone?

Sounds like just another dumb fad for the trendy kids. Maybe the ideal platform for a Facebook phone.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Flexible phones.... why?

"...How is a flexible phone going to be any better than a rigid phone?..."

Because it won't break when you drop it or sit on it?

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JDX
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Re: Flexible phones.... why?

Don't worry Charles, you just stick you your Nokia 3210 and let us kids get on with it.

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Re: Flexible phones.... why?

If it's bendier, it's also better for use-cases where it's better to wear or implant a phone. Not a day-to-day scenario, but an improvement.

*your comment from 1985*

What possible use it a Mobile phone over a regular phone? Regular phones do a perfectly good job and there's always a phone box around anyway

Turns out you can't always see the point of something when it's invented; it's up to the customer to determine if what you have is what you want.

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Re: Flexible phones.... why?

>How is a flexible phone going to be any better than a rigid phone?

Phones are not the only application for batteries... if something exists, people are more likely to use it. The home computer existed before the 'killer app' of the spreadsheet, to give but one example.

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Re: Flexible phones.... why?

One possible application is much larger displays, that still fit in your pocket. E.g., open up your phone, to reveal a much larger screen.

There were some cool Samsung concept videos recently on the possibilities.

(Although even without flexible screens, I've wondered why no none's produced a dual screen phone/tablet, clamshell-style.)

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Bendy bricks

Bendy Korean phones? We need new slang. I call my Samsung Galaxy SII a 'brick' because it's a solid rectangular mass that often performs no function except being that mass. I can send it to Samsung for warranty repair but then it comes back completely 'bricked' and needs the ROMs re-flashed by Sprint. The next generation is going to think we're nuts when phones are flexible.

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Anonymous Coward

Dildo-friendly

Although everyone's going on about phones, I imagine (as one person hinted at. above), that the main use for a flexible battery, allowing more flexibility in the devices it powers would be for a more realistic type of dildo.

There! I've spoken it openly, no need to go around the bushes, so to speak.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dildo-friendly

"...a more realistic type of dildo."

What, it goes floppy just at the wrong moment and apologises profusely?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Dildo-friendly

"What, it goes floppy just at the wrong moment and apologises"

I'm sure it could be done in such a way that it can be customized to resemble you as much as you would want it to.

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Facepalm

Re: Dildo-friendly

There! I've spoken it openly,

says the Anonymous Coward.

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How come no one has mentioned combining this with flexible e-ink screens? Obvious and immensely useful.

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Anonymous Coward

Yep

That would work well, e-ink screens already draw next to no power.

One idea I always wondered about is using nano sized ICs on the back of the e-ink with "spiders web" like contacts to address lots of pixels.

This would have the advantage of flexibility and if one chip failed it wouldn't ruin the entire screen unlike previous attempts that used a single large polysilicon backplane.

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Coat

my phone is already flexible

I can put any version of custom software I choose on, not just the original phone one

It's rooted so I can install what I want

it's not tied to any carrier

what, oh I should RTFA ;-)

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