Flexible batteries could boost wearable tech, a new way for robots to keep cool, and do female leaders hire more senior women? Our round-up of provoking thoughts, penetrating insights and digital curiosities.

Flexible batteries you can wear

Wearable tech could become more popular – and more comfortable – thanks to scientists who have developed a stretchable battery, Science Daily reports. Until now, electronic devices have needed bulky, rigid power sources that have to be sewn into clothing or placed in pockets. Researchers in the US have found a way to create a soft, bendable battery that can store power more safely than conventional ones, meaning they can design electronics that people can comfortably wear.

Read more: Cord cutters: How streaming services are changing the television industry

Robots sweat to keep cool

If ‘men perspire, but women glow’ – as the old saying goes – what do robots do? Scientists have built a robot hand that actually sweat, the Guardian reports. As a way of ensuring that machines do not overheat, researchers have created a device that regulates its temperature naturally. Fingers made of hydrogels have pores that can secrete water to cool the hand down. This could be useful for automation in repetitive tasks, or where robots operate in hot environments, it says.

Read more: Robots might make human workers more efficient, not replace them

Cutting carbon needs progressive leadership

Cutting carbon emissions effectively requires incentives for governments and companies to change their behaviour, according to an article in Yale Environment 360. Climate change is a global problem, but progressive countries and corporates need to lead the way – rather than waiting for consensus agreements, it says. Government policies targeting innovation are also key to speed up a technological revolution in the most carbon emitting sectors.

Read more: To have and to hold: Supplying clean power is easier than storing it

Do female leaders hire more senior women?

Companies with a female chief executive are more likely to have women in other senior management positions than a company headed by a man, according to Bloomberg’s 2020 Gender Equality Index. Gender diversity is becoming an increasing area of focus for businesses, with 64% of those surveyed having a Chief Diversity Officer, and 39% with public targets to increase female leadership, Bloomberg says.

Watch: Why engaging men in the gender debate is key for greater corporate diversity

How climate change could impact financial markets

Climate change could have a significant impact on financial markets, making long-duration borrowing unavailable, triggering capital reallocation and asset repricing, consultancy McKinsey warns in a new report. It says that policy makers and business leaders will need to “put in place the right tools, analytics, processes, and governance to properly assess climate risk, adapt to risk that is locked in, and decarbonize to reduce the further buildup of risk”. At the same time, opportunities could arise from climate change, such as new areas that can be used for agricultural production, or new technologies to manage risk.

Read more: Change for the better: ESG and fixed income