The Kiplinger Letter, Washington D.C., May 27th, 2016 - You’ll be seeing more batteries everywhere in the years ahead…popping up in new applications, making existing products smarter and more versatile, helping the electric grid work more efficiently, etc.
They’ll be smaller, cheaper and more useful than today’s versions…a boon for many industries.
To picture tomorrow’s batteries, think thin: As little as half a millimeter in some cases… so thin they’ll be printed onto rolls of plastic film. That’ll enable mass production and drive down costs.
And think flexible. The tiny, rigid batteries that power small electronic items now will be replaced by ones that bend to fit products of varying shapes. And unlike today’s units, those thin, flexible batteries will tolerate being directly laminated or soldered onto the products that they’ll be powering.
Now think of all the likely uses for them:
Longer-lasting smartphones; smaller, nimbler drones; shipping labels that broadcast an item’s location within the supply chain via radio waves; and more. Go-anywhere batteries will open up whole new lines of products. For instance, look for flexible e-readers that can be rolled up or folded like a magazine. Patches with medical sensors that bend around a patient’s arm. Smart watches with batteries hidden in the band.
Among firms set to cash in on the growing demand for advanced batteries:
Privately held Imprint Energy, BrightVolt and Blue Spark Technologies. One or more could eventually be tempting takeover targets for larger, deep-pocketed tech firms.