S. Korea develops pliable battery for flexible robots, devices

By Shim Woo-hyun
  • Published : Sept 28, 2021 - 16:15
  • Updated : Sept 28, 2021 - 16:56

Jang Bong-kyun, a researcher at the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials, holds the stretchable battery structure. (KIMM)
A local research team has developed a new snakeskin-like structure that contains battery cells, which can be potentially applied to soft robots and a wide range of wearable devices.

The Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials said Tuesday that a research team led by Jang Bong-kyun and Hyun Seung-min developed the material, inspired by the flexibility and structure of snake scales, that can be shaped without damaging rigid battery cells.

The research team said the structure, which contains hexagonal lithium ion pouch cells and uses copper interconnections, can be applied to various types of flexible energy devices requiring high stability, such as soft robotics.

The structure could also be used in robot prostheses and other human-friendly wearable electronics that are designed to support human motions.

The battery’s malleability makes it ideal for search and rescue robots, for instance, which need to be small and able to change its form to operate in tough environments, according to the research team.

It is also suitable for solar cells and memory devices, as the shape-morphing material can maximize the limited space of energy storage devices.

The research team added that the production of the stretchable battery is easy to scale up as it uses commercially available materials and a simple pouch-cell manufacturing process.

The research result has been published in international peer-reviewed journal Soft Robotics in August.