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Behind the Scenes: Assessing Wearable Battery Safety

April 16, 2015

Fashion brands today incorporate electronics into their products to satisfy today’s fashion-conscious consumer. When a major U.S. brand started the early concept design of a “power bank” for a women’s handbag, they turned to a UL team of consumer technology specialists.

The power bank provides consumers with a rechargeable back-up to their smartphones while sitting inside the handbag. The batteries inside the handbags are powerful energy sources containing a mix of chemicals. UL assessed the safe construction of the power bank, using overvoltage, temperature and chemical hazard tests, among others.

In many countries, batteries in consumer products are unregulated, and fashion brands tap independent, third-party experts to help ensure the best possible customer experience with their products. In the era of social media, a viral post of a negative product experience can damage any brand overnight. Moreover, embedding electronics into wearable products is new for the fashion industry, posing the potential for both greater risk and opportunity.

Drawing upon its investment in the science of battery cell technology and electronic circuit design, UL helped ensure it was compliant with all safety standards as the company created the prototype of the purse. Once manufacturing begins, UL will test batches of the product to determine if it is performing as expected. If any non-compliances were found, the team would provide results and offer analysis of the root causes to provide more standard-compliant devices. Through this collaboration with UL, this fashion brand expects to bring to market a high-performing, innovative product for its discerning customers.