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Skin Patch Shows Sweat Can Power Up Mobile Devices

sweat patch mobile
Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

No sweat, no gain. This stands true not just for your fitness goals, but for the chance of powering up your devices without a traditional battery. Scientists found a way to make sweat power a radio for two days #objectmagic

A team from University of California, San Diego, created a skin patch of just a couple of centimeters to replace the metals used in batteries and use sweat to get power. Why sweat? What’s so special about it? Well, the lactic acid found in it, which the body creates during activity like running or doing cardio, has proven to be exactly the substance needed to charge a biofuel cell.

The latest version of the patch was able to extract 10 times more power than before from sweat. “We’re now getting really impressive power levels. If you were out for a run, you would be able to power a mobile device,” said Joseph Wang. That certainly sounds like something I’d want in the near future.

But the researchers believe their discovery can be applied to a number of use cases, including some in the health industry. For example, they can see its utility with health sensors, powering up the device enough to read the results from your smartphone. Or, sweat itself could tell a lot about the user’s body. The amount of lactic acid perceived could be an indicator of an athlete’s daily performance.

Sweat is also important to determine how much glucose is actually in the blood. People with diabetes could find out this information without the need to use needles or take blood samples to the labs. Biofuel cells could be life-changing, if you think about it.

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