South Korean scientists have developed a flexible battery that bends and stretches like a snake, an innovation that could find applications in advanced wearable devices and soft robots used in disaster management.
Engineers at the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM) said the battery’s structure draws inspiration from snake scales, which, while rigid, can fold together to protect against external impact, and have characteristics that allow them to move highly stretchy and flexibly.
stretchable device, Described in the journal Soft RoboticsEnables flexible movement by connecting multiple small, rigid batteries into a scale-like structure.
It consists of small, hexagonal battery cells that resemble snake scales that are fused and unfolded together using a hinge mechanism made of a polymer and copper material.
“This study proposes a novel structure with individual, overlapping units, similar to snake scales that could be used to build shape-morphing batteries for unattractive soft robots,” the scientists wrote in the study. “
To reduce distortion, the scientists say they have optimized the design of the individual scale-like structures that compose the battery.
The scientists say that designing the shape of the individual battery cells, and the connective components were key aspects of this technological achievement.
“The folding lines mimic the structure of snake skins, enabling stable deformations without mechanical damage to the rigid cells,” he said.
This current design, the researchers say, could be applied in wearable soft robots such as smartwatches and in rehabilitation therapy devices for the elderly and sick who require physical assistance.
The researchers believe the battery innovation could also be useful as a power source for flexible soft robots used during disasters to help conduct rescue missions.
Soft robots equipped with these batteries can crawl through narrow spaces blocked by obstacles during disaster situations, thanks to their flexibility and ability to change shape independently.
In future studies, the scientists hope to increase the energy storage capacity of these flexible batteries and develop multi-functional soft robots with artificial muscles.
Since the new battery can be made by cutting and folding flexible electrodes using an origami-inspired manufacturing process, the scientists say its current design also allows for economical mass production.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /