Wearable health tech devices spur the search for new types of power sources. We’ve written about flexible batteries that can be cut into shapes from Nanyang Technological University, stretchable batteries embedded in garments developed at Binghamton University, State University of New York, and more.

Trisha Andrews, a materials chemist and the director of the University of Massachusetts Amherst‘s Wearable Electronics Lab developed a new type of power source specifically for wearable devices. The technology uses vapor-coated conductive threads and a micro-supercapacitor using a polymer film as a substrate. The solid-state power storage also involves a unique sewing technique that aligns electrodes in a flexible mesh stitched directly on textile. According to Andrews and her team, supercapacitors have significantly higher power densities than conventional batteries, which makes them ideal as wearable tech power supplies.

Working in conjunction with the UMass Amherst Institute for Applied Life Sciences’ Personalized Health Monitoring Center, Andrews and her group are combining the wearable charge storage with e-textile sensors and low-power microprocessors. The initial goal for this novel power source is for their use in smart garments that track gait and joint movements.