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Go ahead and cry — your tears might power the batteries of the future

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In an effort to make the batteries that power wearables and medical devices safer, scientists have developed new flexible batteries that can run on saltwater — and maybe one day blood, sweat, or tears.

The lightweight batteries, described in a paper published this week in the journal Chem, can withstand being folded in half a hundred times. And they’re safer: instead of running on toxic chemicals, they’re powered by relatively harmless liquids like saltwater and IV rehydration solutions. That’s key if you have a battery powering a device that’s worn on or inside your body. That way, if the battery leaks, the stuff inside won’t hurt you.

Batteries work by storing electrical energy as chemical energy. They have three main components: two…

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