Batteries with unconstrained form factors unleash innovative product designs
Increasingly, electronic systems are using more and more rechargeable batteries. For those of us who design such systems, a painstaking amount of time is spent figuring out the size and shape of the battery as it affects the form factor of the final product.
While designing IoT/M2M products, I remember figuring out the power requirements in different modes, and the battery needed to support these requirements. In all those cases, the final product design was driven by the battery or battery pack, leaving us wishing for more flexibility in the battery shape.
This is even more so in small electronics that use microbatteries (ones that supply 1 to 100 mAh) such as hearing aids, IoT, medical wearables and true wireless earbuds. Batteries are traditionally cylindrical because that form factor is easier to build, and it provides safer packaging for "liquid" batteries (as in one containing a liquid electrolyte). Some prismatic and rectangular pouch battery options exist for larger capacity devices such as smart watches and phones, but microapplications such as hearables and wearables are stuck for the most part with a cylindrical coin cell Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery. Not only that, unless your product volumes are extremely high, you are going to have to pick from one of a small number of standard sizes.
These batteries are monolithic meaning that a product is forced to use a single battery that meets its capacity requirement. The overhead of the packaging is so high that it is not practical to use multiple such batteries. Also, the capacity of these Lithium Ion microbatteries by volume drops significantly with size, making it harder to use multiple of them.
Ensurge's solid microbattery opens up more options for product designers with its rectangular and customizable form factor. This microbattery consists of stacked unit cells made using a roll-to-roll manufacturing process in Ensurge's factory in San Jose, California. Unit cell size - X, Y and Z dimensions - can be customized to meet specific capacity and design requirements.
Ensurge microbattery also allows a "segmented" battery versus the traditional monolithic model. Battery capacity by volume does not drop with this segmentation. This means that a product designer can use multiple microbatteries to achieve her target capacity. These segmented microbatteries can be embedded in the casing as an example. They can essentially adapt to the product rather than the product having to adapt to the battery.
Form factor does matter, and with Ensurge's solid microbattery, product form factors are no longer constrained by the battery!