Innovation: the wearable device converts body heat into energy

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a new and affordable wearable device that converts human body heat into a biological battery.

Science Advances The device describes the device as flexible, which allows it to be used, for example, as a ring or bracelet. It utilizes the heat of the user, and converts it into electricity with a thermoelectric generator.

“In the future, we want to provide power for wearable electronics without the need to carry a battery,” said the study’s lead author. Jianliang Xiao.

The researchers aim to generate a voltage of about one volt per square centimeter of skin. In terms of power, this would mean 19 microwatts per square cent, according to researchers. That’s less than most existing batteries produce, but still enough to electrify a wristwatch or heart rate monitor, for example.

“When you use a battery, it is constantly draining and eventually needs to be replaced with a new one. Our thermoelectric device is good because when it is used, it constantly produces energy, ”says Xiao.

The device is recyclable and works lego-like, ie by combining several devices, you get an energy source for a larger device.

For example, with a jog, the body radiates the heat generated by the run into cooler air. The device, developed by Xiao and colleagues, recovers heat.

With a brisk walk, a device the size of a regular sports watch could produce a voltage of about five volts, more than a standard wristwatch uses.

“Thermoelectric generators are in close contact with the buoyancy, so they can utilize heat that would otherwise dissipate into the environment.”

The device is as durable as biological tissue. If the device tears, the detached parts can be pinched back together, allowing them to reattach in just a few minutes.

When the device is no longer needed, it can be immersed in a special solution that separates the electronic components and dissolves the polyimine base. All parts can be reused.

“We try to make our equipment as cheap and reliable as possible while keeping the environmental impact close to zero.”

According to Xiao, the device could be on the consumer market in 5-10 years.

Source: Techxplore

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