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Scientists weave battery into clothing

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Scientists charged into the fashion industry this week, unveiling a flexible battery that can be woven into fabric and used to boost the juice of everyday gadgets.

The lithium-ion cells were produced by a group of boffins from the Polytechnic School of Montreal. The team claims their bendy power cells are the first wearable battery that uses no liquid electrolytes, New Scientist reports.

The team sandwiched a solid polyethylene oxide electrolyte between a lithium iron phosphate cathode and lithium titanate anode. These are thermoplastic materials which, when gently heated, can be stretched into a thread.

The stretched material was then woven into fabric with conductive threads which tied the parts together to collectively power a series of LEDs. An entire garment woven from the battery material could produce "hundreds of volts".

"We have enough power to emit a powerful distress signal or even save a life by defibrillating a patient," said Maksim Skorobogatiy, the project's frontman.

The next step is to waterproof the technology before attempts to implement it in future clothing and accessories can go ahead. Backpacks and medical-monitoring garments are said to be the first items the team is planning to add the tech to.

For further reading, have a ganders at the team's technically written paper entitled "Flexible, Solid Electrolyte-Based Lithium Battery Composed of LiFePO4 Cathode and Li4Ti5O12 Anode for Applications in Smart Textiles". ®

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