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Circuit Breaker

Panasonic's new flexible batteries could one day power a bendable phone

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If we want truly flexible smartphones, we’re going to eventually need some flexible batteries to power them.

Fortunately, Panasonic is moving us a step closer to the dream of a bendable phone with its new flexible lithium-ion batteries. While still in the early stages, the batteries are 0.55-millimeters thick, with a bendable radius of 25mm, and maximum twist angle of up to 25 degrees. More importantly, Panasonic’s batteries can withstand these deformations without affecting the battery’s ability to maintain a charge, something that's currently a problem with regular lithium-ion batteries.

mass-produced devices are still a long way away

Currently, the batteries can only hold between 17.5 mAh (for the smallest size) to 60 mAh (for the largest) of charge — for reference, the iPhone 7 has a 1,960 mAh battery — meaning that for now they’re mostly useful for lower power devices, like smart cards or clothing. And even those applications in mass-produced devices are still a long way away. But Panasonic has said that it intends to continue to develop the technology, and who knows? Maybe one day you’ll be able to fold up your phone or tablet like you do a newspaper.