“Wearables of the future will be powered by human sweat,” says a team of engineers at the University of California (UC), San Diego, who created a band-aid-like device for the fingertips to generate power from the user’s sweat. You must be wondering how this will happen, so let’s just read further.
Sweating is one of the natural human body phenomena that help to regulate body temperatures and has a lot of benefits for the body. Now you must be familiar with this information, but the latest mind-boggling news about the ‘power of sweat’ (via Newaltas) will leave you full of curiosity.
A New Creation Adds to Wearable Space
Although there have been a lot of creations in the field of this wearable space especially the ones working or say powered by human sweat by the team like:
- Temporary Tattoo: a sweat powered biobattery
- Wearable Vitamin C sensor: sweat powered device
- Smart Shirt: sweat and movement powered shirt
But now the team has added a new device to the line which is the very first of its kind that does not require any kind of movement as in the case of the smart shirt but is workable any time, at any place requiring no physical input. The co-author Lu Yin says,
“Unlike other sweat-powered wearables, this one requires no exercise, no physical input from the wearer in order to be useful. This work is a step forward to making wearables more practical, convenient, and accessible for the everyday person.”
How Does It Really Work?
Well, talking about its structure, it is a thin and flexible strip that is wrapped around the fingertip like a Band-aid. It is made of carbon foam electrodes to absorb sweat and use embedded enzymes to trigger the chemical reaction between the lactate and oxygen molecules within it.
Further, this energy is stored in the small capacitors. Also, the device has a piezoelectric material. This material works under pressure creating more energy. In simple words when you are using your hands for writing, typing, or playing, it will create pressure resulting in extra energy gains.
Moreover, the team made the device targeting the fingertips as they are a 24hr factory of perspiration having 10-1000 times more sweat glands as compared to the other body parts. According to Joseph Wany, a professor of nanoengineering at UC San Diego and co-author of the paper:
“The reason we feel sweatier on other parts of the body is that those spots are not ventilated. But by contrast, because the fingertips are always exposed to air, the sweat gets evaporated as it comes out and they believe that rather than letting it evaporate, why not use this as a resource to generate energy.”
How do you use it?
So basically, it is wrapped around the fingertip and then the device hits the advantage of sweating fingertips to generate energy. If the device is worn on a fingertip while the wearer is asleep for 10 hours then about 400 millijoules of energy is generated which can drive an electronic watch for 24 hrs as mentioned in the study published in the journal Joules.
Also due to piezoelectric material, if you type for 1 hr, 30 millijoules of energy gets generated, stored in the capacitor, and then can be discharged to a device to make it run.
Yin says “Our goal is to make this a practical device and show that it is not just another cool thing that can generate a small amount of energy and that’s it. We can actually use the energy to power useful electronics such as sensors and displays.”
Well readers this is all about the post where it was really astonishing to know how the sweat that you almost get irritated from sometimes, which might make you feel embarrassed at times or make you feel self-conscious can prove to be a resource to generate power.