As components shrink in size within consumer electronics, it seems that batteries tend to take up any space freed by eliminating the bulk of electronic components. The MacBook Air is mostly battery at this point, as is the iPad, and iPhone. But, what if companies start designing their products to include a casing that not only acts as a protective shell, but also as the device’s main source of energy? Researchers at Rice University in Houston, Texas, have managed to turn batteries into a liquid that can be spray-painted onto any surface.

The batteries are made by spraying multiple layers onto any surface. Each layer represents traditional battery components like two current collectors, a cathode, an anode, and some kind of polymer separator in the middle of the sprayed surface.

During studies, the research team tested the device on everything from stainless steel, glass, and ceramics, to just about anything else you can think of trying, all with success.

The next time you buy a mobile phone or computer, the case could very well be acting like a giant battery without you ever knowing, at least until iFixit pulls the device apart like they usually do these days.

Nifty times.

Source: Reuters