New wearable device turns the body into a battery

Posted by

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a new, low-cost wearable device that transforms the human body into a biological battery.

The device, described today in the journal Science Advances, is stretchy enough that you can wear it like a ring, a bracelet or any other accessory that touches your skin. It also taps into a person’s natural heat — employing thermoelectric generators to convert the body’s internal temperature into electricity.

“In the future, we want to be able to power your wearable electronics without having to include a battery,” said Jianliang Xiao, senior author of the new paper and an associate professor in the Paul M. Rady Department of Mechanical Engineering at CU Boulder.

The concept may sound like something out of The Matrix film series, in which a race of robots have enslaved humans to harvest their precious organic energy. Xiao and his colleagues aren’t that ambitious: Their devices can generate about 1 volt of energy for every square centimeter of skin space — less voltage per area than what most existing batteries provide but still enough to power electronics like watches or fitness trackers.

Scientists have previously experimented with similar thermoelectric wearable devices, but Xiao’s is stretchy, can heal itself when damaged and is fully recyclable — making it a cleaner alternative to traditional electronics.

“Whenever you use a battery, you’re depleting that battery and will, eventually, need to replace it,” Xiao said. “The nice thing about our thermoelectric device is that you can wear it, and it provides you with constant power.”

More: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/02/210210142049.htm

 

FiveWordsForTheFuture - May 2, 2021 | Biodesign, Body, Electricity, Energy, Wearables
Tagged | , , ,

Leave a Reply