• Patent pending to create safer button batteries

    By: Katie Higgins

    Updated:

    TULSA, Okla. - Quick Facts:

    A new patent could save kids from the dangers of button batteries.

    One Green Country toddler died in December after ingesting a battery.

    The batteries have been around for decades and can be found in watches, toys and other small electronics. They react to saliva and can be deadly when swallowed.

     

    Remember when I told you about the little girl who passed away after accidentally swallowing a button battery? Meet one of the men fighting to make button batteries safer.

    Posted by FOX23 Katie Higgins on Friday, February 12, 2016

    FOX23 spoke with Jeff Karp, a researcher who is one of many working on the patent for ingestible-safe button batteries.

    “We created a coating that’s pressure sensitive,” Karp said.

    He said that if the coated battery was swallowed, it won’t break down, because there’s not enough pressure on it.

    “We exposed it to stomach acid for 48 hours, and there was no leak. Nothing happened,” Karp said.

    However, when pressure is applied, like when a battery is clicked into place in a device, it works as an electric conductor.

    Karp said it should only increase battery costs by a penny. If approved, the coating could be ready in two to three years.

    FOX23 reached out to battery manufacturers about the patent. A spokesperson for Duracell reiterated that batteries can be dangerous, if swallowed, and said they would definitely look into any technology that would make them safer.

     

    Next Up: