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  • The battery can be extended, twisted to twice its size, and put through a washing machine cycle.
  • Can withstand 39 washing cycles and retain 75% battery capacity after 500 charge and discharge cycles.
  • The device was created using manganese dioxide and zinc.

According to a University of British Columbia press release, UBC researchers have created a battery that can be stretched and washed. The battery is capable of operating when being extended, twisted to twice its size, and after going through a cycle in a washing machine.

The device was created by crushing manganese dioxide and zinc (two vital elements of a battery) into smaller pieces, then placing them inside a thin, flexible plastic material. Numerous layers of the plastic were then encapsulated inside a casing fashioned from the same material.

Manganese dioxide and zinc were chosen for the creation of the battery because they offer a safer, healthier alternative to lithium ion batteries. When broken down, damaged, or exposed to other vulnerabilities, lithium ion batteries can create extremely harmful chemicals. This is a critical aspect of design since the battery will be worn on or very close to the skin.

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The battery is extremely safe since the casing is airtight and waterproof, protecting the device from the many mishaps and circumstances that life throws at us. The secure design allows for the battery to be used in reusable products, such as clothing and bedsheets. A research article from Advanced Energy Materials states that the battery can withstand 39 washing cycles, while retaining about 75% battery capacity after 500 charge and discharge cycles.

The development of the washable, stretchable battery provides exciting prospective uses for the technology. Incorporating the battery into clothing and other forms of wearable devices can allow for improved health monitoring, increased user control, and more personalization.