Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder in the United States have developed a low-cost wearable device that can transform the human body into a biological battery. The novelty was presented in a study published last Wednesday (10), in Science Advances.
The wearable, shown in the video below, has a thermoelectric generator capable of converting the natural heat generated by the body into electricity, being able to generate about 1 volt of energy for each square centimeter of surface. This is less than the voltage supplied by most current batteries, but scientists still have bold plans for the invention.
“In the future, we want to be able to power wearable electronic devices without having to include a battery,” said professor at the University of Colorado’s Department of Mechanical Engineering Jianliang Xiao, lead author of the study. The idea is to use the device to charge gadgets such as smart watches and fitness bracelets, at first.
Another interesting detail is that the wearable can take different forms, due to the elasticity of the material. You can use it as a ring on your fingers or bracelet, for example, in addition to transforming it into any other type of accessory for the body, as long as it touches the skin.
Increasing the ability to generate energy
According to Xiao, it is possible to improve the power production capacity of the wearable device by adding more generator blocks, combining several smaller units of thermoelectric chips into one larger piece, something compared by the professor with the assembly of small Lego pieces to create a larger structure.
Using a device the size of a conventional smartband, a person would be able to generate 5 volts of electricity while taking a brisk walk, according to the research team’s calculations.
The concept developed at the American institution can also heal itself when it is damaged and is completely recyclable, appearing as a cleaner alternative to conventional electronics. The expectation is that it will be launched in a period of five to 10 years.