battery technologyThe medical press is filled with breathless hype about the potential of new technologies. I am guilty of that myself. While there are a lot of very interesting things going on in science that could be employed in medical technology, the fact is that it takes a very long time before something proved to be possible by experiment can be made ready for deployment in a commercial product.

One of the technological Grails has to do with batteries. Battery size is often the most constraining factor in medical device design. While the technology that requires the power is generally small and light weight, the battery is large and heavy in relation. If a battery technology could be devised such that it was either small, or thin and flexible to conform to the body, many advantages would accrue.

I have read and written about a number of promising developments in this area. Tempering the optimism is the view of Dr. Michael Xie, who reminds us that the problems associated with devising a new battery chemistry are exceedingly difficult to overcome. Few advances have been made in the 150 years since the advent of the lead-acid battery. Unfortunately, Dr. Xie believes that not much will change in the next five to ten years. But who knows? Hope springs eternal.