A research team at CU Boulder, led by Jianliang Xiao, have developed a wearable device that can be worn like a ring, sport band, or any accessory touching your skin that transforms internal body heat into electricity. One caveat, each thermoelectric generator module can only generate about 1-volt of energy for every square centimeter of skin space, but on the bright side, these units can be combined to form a larger one. Read more for a video and additional information.
Think of its modular design as a LEGO brick, as one can easily boost the power output by combining more generators. For example, someone walking or running in the park could use five of them to form a sports wristband and generate 5-volts of electricity. These devices are as rugged as biological tissue, enabling you to pinch together the broken ends and have them seal back together automatically.
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In the future, we want to be able to power your wearable electronics without having to include a battery. 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…when you’re done with the device, you can dunk it into a special solution that will separate out the electronic components and dissolve the polyimine base—each and every one of those ingredients can then be reused,” said Jianliang Xiao, senior author of the new paper and an associate professor.