Engineers from the University of Colorado Boulder have made a low-cost wearable device that turns the body's electricity into a biological battery that can power pacemakers, drug delivery pumps, and other medical implants that require renewable energy.
This device is called the thermoelectric generator (TEG) described in the journal Science Advances. It is a flexible device that the user wears like a ring or bracelet that turns the body heat into electrical energy, Popular Mechanics reported.
Depending on how much power is needed, this device could theoretically be the size of a watch or full sleeve as long as it touches the skin.
"In the future, we want to be able to power your wearable electronics without having to include a battery," said senior author of the new paper Jianliang Xiao.
How It Works
The first step in using the TEG is by putting on the wearable device while making sure that it touches the skin. The flexible and malleable electrical components in the wearable device then convert the body heat and turn it into electricity, according to Infinity Explorers.
To keep the gadget from breaking as the body moves, a special material is embedded inside the gadget that fixes it and reconfigures the same.
Since it is a flexible wearable device like the skin, anyone can wear it comfortably in all kinds of conditions, according to the engineers.
The body loses approximately 75% of the energy that it produces through heat. But the TEG captures these energized particles as they pass through the micro-thin barrier and turns that energy into power.
According to scientists, this low-cost wearable device could someday eliminate the need for batteries in human devices, like pacemakers and other medical implants that require energy. It could be your contribution to a cleaner and more recyclable technology that will reduce the use of batteries.
The researchers believe that in the next five to ten years, these wearables can be already in stores.
Building More Blocks Like Lego to Boost the Power
Xiao said that the power of the wearable device can be easily boosted by adding in more blocks of generators much like putting together a bunch of small Lego pieces.
For example, Science Daily reported that a person taking a brisk walk could use a wearable device the size of a typical sports wristband to generate five volts of electricity that is more than the energy that many watch batteries can muster.
The device is as resilient as any biological tissue as it can be repaired. If the device ever tears, the user could just pinch it together the broken ends to seal it back in its original form in just a few minutes. Also, the device can be dunk in a special solution that will separate it from the electrical components and reuse it.
But as of now, the device is still undergoing improvements. The researchers said that they are trying to make a reliable and cheap wearable that generates electricity but with zero impact on the environment.
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