Stanford University researchers have now created see-through lithium-ion batteries; when combined with transparent screens, keyboards, and circuitry, manufacturers may be able to create fully transparent electronic devices. So soon, rather than searching frantically for those set of keys you somehow misplaced, you can spend your time trying to find your see-through cell phone sitting right in front of you.
Scientists usually make devices like solar cells appear translucent by creating ultra-thin versions of their components. But this doesn’t work with a battery because its electrodes need to be thick enough to store a decent amount of energy. So, the Stanford researchers, in their study recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (pdf), took a different approach: they created lithium-ion electrodes out of components too small for the naked eye to see.