A team based at Harvard University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created a way to use 3D printing to create microbatteries that could supply electricity to tiny devices in the medical and communication fields.

The technology has been around for decades, but we are just starting to see some of the incredible capabilities of 3D printing. Using digital models, a 3D printer can create a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape. This technology is often used for prototyping ideas and designs and creates tangible objects used in the automotive, aerospace, dental and medical industries.

There have been numerous advances in miniature devices, but the batteries that are needed to power these objects are often the same size or even larger than the actual devices itself. Obviously defeating the purpose of creating the small devices.

Scientists realized they could pack more energy if they could .

The team created a specially formulated "ink" that is deposited through a fine nozzle, similar to a tube of tooth paste. As it is distributed the ink immediatley hardens creating stacks of tightly interlaced, ultrathin electrodes and containing compounds to give it electrochemical properties. What they created are the first micro-batteries that are comparable to commercial batteries, but on a much smaller scale.