Future wearables can be fed with the heat of the human body
Chinese scientists want to use wasted energy produced by the human body to power future wearables.
Researchers in China have developed a flexible thermoelectric generator (TEG – flexible thermoelectric generator) that could one day replace existing batteries in wearable devices such as fitness trackers, wristbands, smartwatches and sensors pulse. Much work and research is still required to make the new invention commercially viable. However, with the growing popularity of wearables, it certainly seems worth investigating. The prototype TEG is 4.5 inches long and 1.1 inches wide. When wrapped around the subject’s wrist, the device was able to use the temperature difference between the user’s skin and the environment to power the LED.
Unlike other generators that use motion to generate power, TEGs have no moving parts and therefore require very little maintenance. Qian Zhang of the Harbin Institute of Technology and her colleagues modified their prototype to be more flexible – during testing, it was able to survive 10,000 repeated bends without incident.
The prototype also eliminates some of the rare metals found in commercially available TEGs, which can significantly reduce the cost of large-scale production.
The team is not the first to explore this idea. There are many examples on YouTube of other people experimenting with wearable thermoelectric devices.
Scientists said they plan to refine the design of the unit to absorb heat more efficiently. The hope is that one day this technology could be used to power wearable electronics.
source: TechSpot | Science Direct
graphics: Monkey Business Images