This tech harvests enough power from your sweaty fingertips to charge a smartwatch
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Here’s a new device — called the most efficient ‘on-body’ energy harvester ever invented – that turns micro-droplets of sweat into a source of energy for small devices and sensors.
According to a new study published in the journal Joule, this device derives most of its power from sweat produced by the fingertips, one of the sweatiest parts of the human body.
It has been called the “holy grail of energy harvesters” because instead of relying on external, irregular sources like sunlight or movement, all it needs is finger contact.
One night’s sleep can power a smartwatch for 24 hours, researchers say.
That’s without moving. The device also gets extra energy from everyday motions like typing, mouse-clicking, or playing piano.
“Our goal is to make this a practical device,” says nanoengineering PhD student and first co-author Lu Yin.
“We want to show that this is not just another cool thing that can generate a small amount of energy and then that’s it – we can actually use the energy to power useful electronics such as sensors and displays.
“We want to make this device more tightly integrated in wearable forms, like gloves.
“We’re also exploring the possibility of enabling wireless connection to mobile devices for extended continuous sensing.”
Future studies will include combining it with other types of energy harvesters to create a new generation of self-powered wearable systems.