Spray-on batteries amazingly transform any surface into a power source


Power. We need it. How do we get more of it? That’s the question. We’ve tried traditional batteries. They are pretty good but bulky for some of the more innovative concepts that we get into. What about solar power? Definitely has potential but it depends, again, on those panels shrinking to an appropriate size. And don’t even get me started on power outlets. Those things are death traps! So, yeah, this is a world that needs complete reinvention if we are to realize some of the ideas we so desperately long for. Thank goodness Rice University is on it.

Researchers at Rice University in Houston, Texas, have come up with a technique to break down each element of the traditional battery and incorporate it into a liquid that can be spray-painted in layers on virtually any surface. You heard that right. Spray-can batteries! Traditional batteries could be on their way out. Their design has the batteries constructed from thin liquid layers representing each component of the traditional battery: two current collectors, cathode, anode and polymer separator. Guess what? It works.

The researchers have already had success painting batteries on airbrushed ceramics, glass, stainless steel and even on the curved surface of a ceramic mug. They note they were able to successfully extract 6 hours of steady 2.4 volt power from each spray. This is, of course, early in the design process so don’t go expecting spray-on battery jeans just yet. Still, the tech is out there and it should only get better with age.

Check below for a video on those spray-able, playable batteries and even further below for some cool pictures detailing how it works.