A battery can hold a relatively large amount of power, but it releases it slowly and can take a long time to recharge. A capacitor can’t hold as much power, but it can recharge very quickly and can also provide a large amount of power in a short time if needed. Then there’s a new class of devices called supercapacitors — or “supercaps” — that have the best features of both. They hold more energy than a capacitor, but recharge more rapidly than a battery. They could be ideal for many wearable Health Tech applications, especially where the recharging power comes from some form of energy harvesting.
That’s why it’s big news that the Australian company CAP-XX has announced a new line of supercaps that are only 0.6 mm thick. The lightweight and flexible devices work well even at low temperatures, and can deliver 2.75 Volts with a “virtually unlimited” charge/discharge life cycle (unlike battery technologies). The cells can sell for less than $1 in high volume, making them practical for a power source for disposable devices including wearable medical devices.
As power storage sources like the CAP-XX supercaps become readily available, we will see wearable Health Tech devices become thinner, lighter, faster to recharge (if not powered entirely by energy harvesting), and best of all, less expensive.