Haleh Ardebili’s flexible, bendable and stretchable batteries powered through the competition at the NASA iTech Cycle 3 and earned a space among the top ten finalists.
NASA iTech is a program that fosters innovative solutions to challenges we face here on Earth but also have potential to solve some of NASA’s challenges deep in outer space. The competition solicits inventions, ideas and technologies at various stages of development from small companies, universities and other institutions.
The flexible batteries, roughly the size and shape of a business card, can be integrated into materials and structures as well as conform to various spaces. Potential uses could stretch from spacesuits and smart military uniforms to autonomous underwater vehicles.
Ardebili, Bill D. Cook associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering, is renowned for her research with flexible batteries and electronics. Her research team includes Mejdi Kammoun, a postdoc/research associate as well as graduate and undergraduate students in her lab.
She has collectively earned millions in funding for her energy storage research from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, National Science Foundation CAREER Award, Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), Texas Space Grant Consortium, Texas Center for Superconductivity (TcSUH) and the Subsea Systems Institute.
The technology is represented in the competition by Exostretch, a University of Houston startup company formed through a partnership between Ardebili and five UH students (who are now UH graduates) led by Ross Smolen from the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship.
The finalists will present their ideas at the iTech forum in Hartford, Connecticut from Oct. 25-26. NASA judges will choose three winners of the 2018 NASA iTech Cycle 3 competition in the end.
Learn more about Ardebili’s batteries: Powering the Air and the Sea
Read the full NASA iTech finalists press release: Top 10 Finalists Announcement