Turn sweat into energy? Engineers have now come up with a device that is capable of harvesting the sweat from one’s fingertips in order to generate power! The best part is that the user won’t even need to lift a finger in order to make this technology work.
Flexible Band-Aid-Like Sweat-Converting Device
According to CNet, users can even create energy while sitting still or even while sleeping. The thin flexible strip wraps used are wrapped around the users’ fingers like a Band-Aid and function by converting chemicals that are found in human sweat into other smaller amounts of electrical energy.
Fingers constantly produce sweat without much effort which means that this device can work even without the wearer moving that much. According to Joseph Wang, a professor of nanotechnology at the esteemed UC San Diego as well as co-author of a paper that described the function of the product, published in the journal Joule notes about the technology.
Self-Powered Wearable Systems
According to Joseph Wang, through the use of sweat on the users’ fingertips, which actually flows out naturally no matter what the user is doing, will provide a net gain of energy with no effort at all from the user. It is quite common for self-powered wearable systems to rely directly on bioenergy harvesters in order to require excessive inputs in energy. As of the moment, it is still unknown if the energy alone collected from sweat is enough to power fitness watches.
However, due to the device not really requiring much physical input from the wearer, it is a step forward in order to make wearables much more practical, convenient, and also more accessible for the everyday user, according to Lu Yin, a study co-author and nanoengineering Ph.D. student over at UC San Diego.
Temporary Tattoos into Energy
UC San Diego researchers were previously able to work on temporary tattoos that are capable of turning sweat into power, as seen in ScienceFocus. While the brand new product is capable of producing, it is still not time to kick the tangly cords and other finicky electrical outlets out to the curb just yet.
The device, as of the moment, can still potentially power some of the low-power electronics operating at just a milliwatt range like a wristwatch. However, it is still not yet suitable for other continuously power-eating high-performance electronics like the use of smartphones, according to the researchers.
Turn Sweat Into Energy
Yin also noted that their goal is to be able to make the device a practical device. Yin noted that they want to show that this isn’t only another cool thing that is capable of generating small amounts of energy and then that’s it. Yin elaborated that they can actually use the energy in order to power some of the useful electronics like displays and sensors.
As a subject of testing slept for 10 hours with the device on their fingertip, the wearable was capable of collecting 400 millijoules of energy. This is enough to power an electronic wristwatch, but still not a smartwatch. With smartwatches like the Apple Watch focusing on providing better features, it is interesting to see if this type of technology will be used in smartphones in the future.
Written by Urian B.