Researchers at the New Jersey Institute of Technology have invented and patented a battery so flexible that it can be rolled up and placed in the trunk of your car to power it, reports Phys.org. The invention's many applications run the gamut from large-scale machinery to flexible smartphones. This could go a long way towards making curved-display phones like the LG G Flex and the Galaxy Round more relevant in years to come.
Meanwhile, the Japanese company SEL has prototyped a phone with an all-over display. That is, literally every surface of the phone has been equipped with a display that lets images and text actively flow all over the sides and back of the device. The prototype was made possible through a new material called "C-Axis Aligned Crystal," which can be bent and flexed without losing screen resolution.
The flexible carbon nanotube material invented by the NJIT researchers can be made to order in any size or shape, from pinhead-sized micro-batteries to large sheets the size of a living room carpet. The researchers said the technology can even be pushed directly into the hands of consumers as a battery production kit. A kit would include three basic ingredients and use a single piece of equipment to put them together like a sandwich: two plastic sheets, each coated in an "electrode paste", separated by another plastic sheet, and placed together with a laminating machine. The battery would work on the same principles as a AA or AAA battery.
Taken together, these two new technologies--one produced by an American academic research institution, the other by a profit-driven tech company in Japan--could pave the way for Minority Report-reminiscent flexible digital newspapers and other applications (disposable or otherwise.) And while the comparatively stiff curved-display phones like the G Flex and Galaxy Round may be mere gimmickery right now, they could in the larger scheme of things be paving the way for popular awareness of these more advanced technologies.