What if we told you that wearable devices are going to be battery-free soon? It sounds like something out of a sci-fi story, right? We have good news. This high-tech idea could soon be possible, all thanks to the researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder.
The research team of UC Boulder has proposed wearable technology that will not rely on batteries. Instead, this concept uses the internal heat of the human body for power. The study is published in the Journal Science Advances and managed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
A Deeper Insight Into The Technology
The proposed technology uses thermoelectric generators to convert the body’s internal temperature into electricity to generate power. The devices are made from a stretchy material known as polyimine, liquid metal wires, and thermoelectric chips. Users can choose to wear the wires like a ring on their fingers or wrap them around the wrist.
And the best part about these thermoelectric devices is that you don’t need to charge them. Anyone who has owned a phone, laptop, tablet, or any other piece of modern tech knows the frustration of charging devices. It’s even more of a pain with wearable devices because you must take them off and remember to put them back on later. But this is not the case with these thermoelectric devices. All you need to do to charge them is wear them.
According to researchers, these wearables can produce about 1V of energy for every square centimeter of skin space. Although the power generated is currently less than the standards set by other batteries, it’s enough to turn the wearable device on.
The only drawback is that researchers say it could take five to ten years for these wearable devices to hit the public market.
Xiao, the senior author of the new paper, says that the innovation in no way attempts to meld humans with robots. It is, however, an extension of previous research on designing electronic skin wearables that act and look like human skin.
Xiao says that the final product looks similar to a plastic bracelet with a miniature computer motherboard.
Although the power generated is relatively low right now, the team says that they can combine these smaller units to fabricate a bigger unit, similar to a lego. There’s a lot of room for customization. The team looks forward to designing a more extensive system about the size of a traditional sports band capable of generating about 5 volts of electricity. This would be much more than what a watch battery can produce.
Researchers plan to create cheap and reliable sources while ensuring that their inventions have close to zero negative impact on the environment.
All in all, this recent development looks promising. If it gets the traction it deserves, society may be able to bid farewell to batteries for good. At least, as far as wearables are concerned. And who wouldn’t opt out of charging devices if given the choice?