A team at Colorado University has developed a wearable device that turns the body into a battery by taking personal heat and using it to create electricity. It could mean that wearable gadgets never need to be recharged.
At the moment it only generates one volt of energy from every square centimetre of skin space, though in the future the team hopes will be able to generates over five volts and power wearable electronics gadgets.They believe a real world product could be sold within five years.
Jianliang Xiao, senior author of the new paper and an associate professor in the Paul M. Rady Department of Mechanical Engineering at CU Boulder, told the Daily Mail: ‘Whenever you use a battery, you’re depleting that battery and will, eventually, need to replace it.’
‘The nice thing about our thermoelectric device is that you can wear it, and it provides you with constant power.’
‘The final product looks like a cross between a plastic bracelet and a miniature computer motherboard or maybe a techy diamond ring, the researchers said in a statement.
‘Our design makes the whole system stretchable without introducing much strain to the thermoelectric material, which can be really brittle,’ Xiao said.
‘What I can do is combine these smaller units to get a bigger unit,’ Xiao added. ‘It’s like putting together a bunch of small Lego pieces to make a large structure. It gives you a lot of options for customsation.’
‘We’re trying to make our devices as cheap and reliable as possible, while also having as close to zero impact on the environment as possible,’ Xiao said.
According to Grand View Research the global wearable technology market size was valued at USD 32.63 billion in 2019 and is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.9% from 2020 to 2027.