Development of a light-weight, bendable source of power is being called a major breakthrough by scientists at Houston's Rice University.  Professor James Tour says the inflexibility of power sources has been a limiting factor on our hand-held and wearable devices in the past.  There are a lot of advantages to super-capacitors.

“(They are) easier to build the batteries,” professor Tour says.  “They are safer than the lithium ion devices and they have less integration needs than a battery.”

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Super-capacitors could eventually supplant, or at least complement, lithium ion batteries.

“It is a real breakthrough for us,” he says, “because that's indeed the limiting factor on all our hand-held and wearable devices -- the power source.”

The work on thin-film devices has been going on for the last two and a half years.  A private company will take the next step of integrating the technology into mobile devices.