Can the human body store electricity to power electronic devices?
Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) developed technology that would perfectly fit in the fictional movie universe of Matrix, where humans were used as power sources for robots.
Scientists created a new, affordable, recyclable wearable device that is claimed to transform the human body into a biological battery.
The stretchy device, which can be easily worn like a ring, or any other accessory that touches the skin, contains thermoelectric generators to convert the body’s internal temperature into electricity.
Made of a stretchy material called polyimine, the device features at its base thin thermoelectric chips, connecting them all with liquid metal wires.
The final product looks like a miniature computer motherboard or a small bracelet.
Scientists said the device can generate around one volt of energy for every square centimetre of skin space, enough to power electronics like watches or fitness trackers.
Jianliang Xiao, Senior Author of the new paper and Associate Professor in the Paul M. Rady Department of Mechanical Engineering at CU Boulder, said: “In the future, we want to be able to power your wearable electronics without having to include a battery.
“Whenever you use a battery, you’re depleting that battery and will, eventually, need to replace it.
“The nice thing about our thermoelectric device is that you can wear it and it provides you with constant power.”