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There is a new technology gripping the markets of the future – technology to wear. Wearables, as they are known, are portable systems that contain sensors to collect measurement data from our bodies. Powering these sensors without wires calls for pliable batteries that can adapt to the specific material and deliver the power the system requires. Micro-batteries developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM provide the technical foundation for this new technology trend.
In medicine, wearables are used to collect data without disturbing patients as they go about their daily business – to record long-term ECGs, for instance. Since the sensors are light, flexible and concealed in clothing, this is a convenient way to monitor a patient's heartbeat. The technology also has more everyday applications – fitness bands, for instance, that measure joggers' pulses while out running. There is huge growth potential in the wearables sector, which is expected to reach a market value of 72 billion euros by 2020.
Power - Accessories - Challenge - Considerations - Durability
How to power these smart accessories poses a significant technical challenge. There are the technical considerations – durability and energy density – but also material requirements such as weight, flexibility and size, and these must be successfully combined. This is where Fraunhofer IZM comes in: experts at the institute have developed a prototype for a smart wristband that, quite literally, collects data first hand. The silicone band's technical piece de resistance is its three gleaming green batteries. Boasting a capacity of 300 milliampere hours, these batteries are what supply the wristband with power. They can store energy of 1.1 watt hours and lose less than three percent of their charging capacity per year. With these parameters the new prototype has a much higher capacity than smart bands available at the market so far, enabling it to supply even demanding...
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