It’s not exactly news that batteries are a limiting factor for wearables: size, density, and flexibility are all problematic. But there’s news that Applied Materials — one of those technology infrastructure companies that are critical to the tech business but that no one outside it has ever heard of — has made a breakthrough in the way batteries are made.
Technology Review magazine reports that Applied Materials is shipping equipment that will make the creation of solid-state batteries much cheaper. Solid-state batteries replace liquid electrolytes in batteries with solid materials, which are easier to handle and safer to use. Liquid electrolytes are flammable (you’ve heard about Li-Ion batteries sometimes bursting into flames), and using solids can also cut down on battery size and manufacturing expense.
Yes, this is geeky. But it’s going to enable smaller, cheaper devices with longer-lasting batteries.