If you’re out of batteries, don’t fret: one day you can grab some spray-paint and graffiti your own power supply.
Researchers at Rice University have developed spray-paintable batteries that work with any surface. They combined metallic paints and custom-made recipes that stick together onto the material of your choice—steel, tile, walls, and even a coffee mug.
The paper-thin invention reportedly functions like the average, cylindrical-shaped battery. Both types of batteries consist of five different layers that combine to transmit and store energy, but instead of rolling the layers into a tube shape, the scientists were able to create a flat version only half a millimeter thick.
To prove its versatility, the team led by Neelam Singh painted a battery in the shape of “RICE” onto a ceramic mug, the researchers write in the journal Scientific Reports. The geometric possibilities and ability to work on a curved surface will pave the way for form-defying electronic products.
"This means traditional packaging for batteries has given way to a much more flexible approach that allows all kinds of new design and integration possibilities for storage devices," team member Pulickel Ajayan told BBC News.
According to Slate, Singh said he hopes to eventually perfect the product so consumers can buy a DIY paintable battery kit at Home Depot. For now, it's unclear when the technology will hit the market.