Battery-free wearables? Would that be even possible?! The answer is yes, according to a team of researchers at CU Boulder.
The team of scientists has developed what they think is a wearable device that harvests body temperature and turns it into electricity. Unlike previous concepts in this direction, this one is stretchy enough to be worn as a ring, bracelet, or any other flexible accessory.
With thermoelectric generators, it will give you around 1 volt of energy for every square centimeter of skin. During a run, a jogger could count on his fitness bracelet to work thanks to the heat their body generates, for example.
Best yet, the device heals itself and can be reused. So, if it somehow breaks or tears, the user can take the pieces and seal them up. And if the user wants to get rid of it altogether, they can put it in a solution that separates the electronic parts from the base and allows them, in the process, to be forged into something new.
“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,” senior author of the study, Jianliang Xiao, said.
In 5 to 10 years, Xiao and his team believe these low-cost wearable devices could be market-ready, leading to a new wave of environmental-friendly electronics that need only the human body to function.