Almost all wearable Health Tech devices require some form of power in order to operate. For the vast majority, this power must be in the form of an electrical current. When it comes to delivering electricity to a device that is not plugged in, the most common solution is a battery. The problem is that most battery technologies are not particularly flexible, and even when they can survive bending, they are still susceptible to damage from an impact or other force. And a damaged battery often means a dead battery.

Researchers at Fudan University in Shanghai, China, have created a lithium-ion battery that can heal itself. They have developed a design that is solid state (it does not require any liquid electrolytes) and flexible. The batteries use a self-healing plastic substrate that uses sheets of carbon nanotubes (CNT). These sheets are impregnated with nanoparticles of lithium compounds. A special layer serves as both an electrolyte and a separator.

The result is a battery that can mend a tear, crack, or cut and restore its ability to store and discharge electrical energy. This new battery design could be extremely useful as a means to power smart garments and other wearable devices, providing a safer and more reliable way to store electricity.