Technology New power source for wearable technologies

New power source for wearable technologies

Imagine using your own body heat to continuously power your wearable technology to monitor your health, training or even as a fashion statement?

Converting body heat to electricity for powering wearable technologies is a step closer to reality with research from Deakin University’s Institute for Frontier Materials.

The research shows it’s possible to make a flexible thermocell to generate energy from body heat using a solid state, cellulose-based electrolyte.

The thermocell, never needs to be recharged – energy conversion is instant and continuous as long as one of the two electrodes is heated and the other is kept cold.

Associate Professor Jenny Pringle, who led the work at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES), said that until recently they had primarily pursued thermocells made from liquid electrolytes.

She explained that a solid state electrolyte has a number of advantages over its liquid state rivals when it comes to powering small wearable devices.

“In order to generate energy from a waste heat source, like the body, we need a thermocell sensitive enough to respond to lower temperatures. It’s also got to be flexible so it can contour to the body, and yet still be strong enough to make a device,” she said.

“Making a thermocell using a solid state electrolyte allows us to achieve these three aims while giving us the extra advantage of being able to promise no leaks, which is of course important in a device that will need to fit and move with the body,” Associate Professor Pringle said.

You can read more about this project here. Story credit: Deakin University newsroom.

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