3D printers are continuing to find more everyday uses, and a team at Harvard have now created a lithium-ion battery the size of a grain of sand that could greatly benefit medical and communications technology.
According to a report from Harvard, a team based at Harvard University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign created the batteries by printing interlaced stacks of electrodes. The electrodes are about as wide as a human hair.
The applications of these less-than-1-millimetre-wide batteries is seemingly endless. Many nanotechnologies, like medical implants or robotic insects like RoboBees, previously couldn't function without an appropriately-sized battery.
While some of these technologies could work with the use of ultra-thin films with solid materials, the films are not nearly powerful enough to run any future nanotechnology.
Printing these batteries wasn't an easy task—the team had to first find specialized ink to use for printing. The ink had to leave a nozzle similar to toothpaste exiting a tube, and it also had to harden immediately once used.
The results of the project are now online in the journal Advanced Materials.
The invention of 3D printers has brought about plenty of other interesting stories. A few months ago in March, a US company managed to use a 3D Printer to replace 75 percent of a man's skull, Digital Journal reports.
The printers have also managed to print guns, something New York is trying to regulate or ban, according to PC Magazine.