Digital devices run on electricity. For mobile devices — including wearable technology — this means that designers need to provide a way to store that electricity for use as needed. But at the same time, designers want to make devices that are small, lightweight, and convenient to wear and use. Digital watches and other devices have relied on “coin” batteries for years, but this form factor is not always convenient for other devices, and these batteries are typically single-use lithium or alkaline batteries.
Now Panasonic has announced the smallest cylindrical lithium ion battery on the market, with commercial shipments planned to start early in 2015. The 3.75 Volt battery is rechargeable, and is so tiny that it can fit in the earpiece of a pair of glasses or within the barrel of a tablet computer’s stylus. The battery is just 2 cm long (less than an inch) and has a diameter of only 3.5 mm; that’s slightly larger than an eighth of an inch. It is contained by a stainless steel exterior but weighs just 0.6 grams, and has a 13 mAh capacity.
This new battery will give designers new alternatives for device form factors and power storage. The battery has enough power to drive Bluetooth and near-field communications (NFC) which can allow wearable devices to exchange data with smartphones. And the fact that it is rechargeable will mean the devices will be easier to use, without having to replace the battery when it runs out of power.