From Northwestern University comes news of a battery that can be bent and stretched. This is exactly the kind of development that will speed the commercialization of flexible electronics (in fact, the stretchable battery uses some of the same techniques as those used in flexible electronics).

The current iteration of the battery can power an LED for eight hours and can be recharged wirelessly. It can also be stretched to three times its original size – easily conformable to the human body.

The bulky form of today’s medical devices will soon give way to flat patches that contain sensors, electronics and batteries. How such devices will be controlled by the user is an interesting question for medical product designers/developers to ponder. Will the user interface be on the patch itself, or will control and feedback be done through a smart phone? What will other design challenges be for these new devices?