Printable batteries for the Internet of Things - Business Works
BW brief

Printable batteries for the Internet of Things

by Markku Ellil&aiml;, CEO of Enfucell The internet of things has been predicted to bring about the third industrial revolution. Its basic idea of any object being connected to the internet and used to gather data is ambitious, says Markku Ellilä, CEO of Enfucell. Connecting objects to the internet requires large amounts of sensors, which results in a challenge that is simple to understand, but difficult to solve: sensors need power to function.

The problem is that the varied application purposes require power sources with resilient features. The healthcare sector, for example, is developing skin patches that can be used to monitor patients. In sports, light and flexible batteries are needed for measuring mechanics, such as the angle and speed of a golf club during a swing.

Whether it's sensors for mailed packages, golf clubs or skin patches, the common thing for their batteries is that they have to be light, thin and flexible. Our Finland-based company, Enfucell, is one of the forerunners in printable batteries. The company has spent ten years developing its patented thin, flexible and eco-friendly SoftBattery technology. It has been designed specifically for the needs of healthcare, sports and logistics sectors, because they value wearability in smart technology. To ensure wearability, batteries need to be thin and bendy.

sensor with Enfucell battery on golf club

There is no limit to what kinds of thin and flexible sensor patches can be designed. In sports, we foresee that wireless sensors equipped with accelerometers and gyroscopes will find use in multiple disciplines. Combined with smart algorithms, the performance of an athlete in any racquet sports can be perfected by analysing the movement of the racquet and indicating the exact trajectory in 3D. In logistics, intelligent labels can keep track of a product's cold chain history and expiry date, and with this better tracking ultimately reduce foodstuff waste.

For healthcare, we believe that there will be many specific clinical use cases for novel sensors, which will be able to measure a particular signal from the human body. As the signal is best observed at close proximity to the organ, which generates it, the freedom to choose the location of the sensor becomes very important. Using a soft skin-attachable sensor near the heart, lungs, muscles or blood vessels would make the measurement more accurate than measuring at a distance, say on the wrist of a person.

Iontophoresis skin patch with Enfucell battery

As for the company's future, I see Enfucell's story taking it towards public markets. First we will carve out a strong position in the printed electronics industry during its growth phase. Once that is done, we want to do an IPO and continue our investment story with strong development of our share value and good dividends.

A decade of R&D has taught us valuable lessons that other entrepreneurs can learn from. One big challenge in particular is timing. Timing of market entry is extremely difficult to predict. There can be a major gap between when the time when a technology seems to offer opportunities to new applications, and the time when the market is actually ready for it.

Instead of waiting for the market to slowly mature, we began actively to speed up the diffusion of the new technology in the market. We chose to speed up the adoption curve by entering into device development projects with major industry players, such as Qualcomm and NXP, to offer proof of concept to the market. We also want to increase the appetite for thin and flexible batteries by showing examples of real working devices, with extremely attractive form factor and weight. We believe that the internet of things revolution will now open up the market for wireless sensor patches, which require the power source to be thin and flexible.

My tip for entrepreneurs who are waiting for markets to be ready is this: choose globally-relevant partners and work on proofs of concept with them.

We have spent a total of ten million Euros on R&D and no new capital is needed for research and development of the core technology. Instead, we are seeking €300,000 - 800,000 for scaling up our operations.

More information about Enfucell and their equity offering can be found at

Tweet article
BW on TwitterBW RSS feed