In 2022, the batteries that power our devices are unrecognizable from those we lived with in the not-too-distant past. Wireless power packs a greater punch than ever, fits into the smallest pocket and lasts as long as we need. Now, a central Ohio startup is integrating that level of battery technology into smart clothing to create connected clothes that can resist heat and be run through the washing machine.
“Our mission is to develop and commercialize a flexible, washable, safe battery that can integrate seamlessly with smart clothing,” Dr. Suvankar Sengupta, CEO and President of FlexEnergy LLC. “Some other companies are developing flexible batteries, but ours can go through a standard washer cycle. It’s also safer because it’s resistant to high temperatures. Right now, to use smart clothing, you have to put a brick-style battery in your pocket. It’s not practical or fashionable. But our battery is seamlessly integrated into the clothing. It will feel like a piece of clothing, and you won’t realize that you have a battery in your clothes.”
While standard battery technology has grown in leaps and bounds over the last few decades, the industry around smart clothing is still relatively new. That puts companies like FlexEnergy in high demand. The United States Air Force has even taken notice of the Worthington-based company, signing a patent license agreement through Dayton’s Air Force Research Laboratory. The company also won a $100,000 grant from the Ohio Third Frontier Technology Validation and Start-up Fund to help move their exciting tech forward.
Smart clothes and the tech that empowers them may be a new market, but it’s a rapidly growing one. The field is projected to be a $5.3 billion market by 2024, providing a gigantic incentive to be part of the first wave of new smart clothing tech. And the Air Force is far from the only organization that could benefit.
Read the entire article here.