One major problem with current day wearables and medical devices is that lithium ion batteries are not the safest way to power them, though they’re currently our only option. Because of this, scientists have been attempting to find other ways to power these electronics, and they may have just had a breakthrough.
Researchers in China have now developed a new type of flexible battery, one that can be folded in half a hundred times. More importantly, they’re also safer than current-day batteries.
The new batteries don’t run on toxic or flammable chemicals. Instead, they’re powered by harmless liquids like saltwater and IV rehydration solutions. That’s especially important if they’re going to be used in medical devices that are mean to go on or inside your body.
Batteries work by storing electrical energy in chemical form, and have three main components; the cathode, anode, and electrolyte that transfers electrons between them. Where that electrolyte is usually a toxic or corrosive chemical, scientists at the Fudan University have devised a way to replace them.
One of the types of batteries the scientists developed used sodium sulfate, a chemical sometimes used as a laxative. However, they say salt water solutions also work well. Eventually, they believe even bodily fluids like sweat and blood could be used as replacement electrolytes in medical implants. Yes, that means one day you could be holding a battery powered by your pee.