Our reliance over tech gadgets this past decade is such an understatement that many of such devices have literally become part of our day-to-day use. In fact, some of these gadgets are no longer just kept in our pockets, but some are worn in constant contact over our skin.
Battery life is one of the major drawbacks of all portable tech devices, particularly wearable ones as they usually contain quite small batteries. However, this is about to change because the future of wearable devices is to no longer have a battery but instead have the wearer as the battery.
Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a thermoelectric wearable device that can convert the human body into a biological battery. The best thing about the device is that it is low cost and can be worn like a bracelet, ring, necklace or any other accessory that touches your skin. The tech works by tapping into the user’s natural heat and converting the body’s internal temperature into electricity through the use of thermoelectric generators.
“In the future, we want to be able to power your wearable electronics without having to include a battery,” said Jianliang Xiao, senior author of the new paper and an associate professor in the Paul M. Rady Department of Mechanical Engineering at CU Boulder.
The concept may sound a bit ludicrous at first, but when you consider that their device is enough to create 1 volt per square centimeter of skin, powering wearable tech is not at all impossible.
*Photo: A thermoelectric wearable device worn as a ring. (Credit: Xiao Lab)