Magazine notes Science Advances, Until the power of this device is sufficient to operate an electronic watch, or a fitness monitor. The new device is flexible and can self-repair any damage, and it does not require charging from the electrical network. It is a thermoelectric generator that uses the heat of the human body as a biological battery.
Says Jianliang Xiao (Xiao Jianliang) Head of the research team, “We need to charge the battery from time to time and eventually replace it with a new one. As for the electric-thermoelectric generator that we created, it can always be carried.“.
The new device can generate about one volt of energy per square centimeter of skin area. According to researchers’ calculations, a device in the shape of a bracelet could generate in a person’s hand that conducts about 5 volts of electrical energy. This is higher than what most watch batteries generate.
The main material in the device’s construction is the flexible polymene material, in which thin thermoelectric strips are attached to each other by means of liquid metal wires. And when generating units are added to the device, its productivity increases.
According to the researchers, this project is not the first attempt to unify humans and electronics. They have previously conducted experiments with “electronic skin” – flexible, wearable equipment that looks and behaves exactly like normal human skin, but needs to be powered by an external power source..
The new device and the “electronic skin” is resistant to external influences, and it repairs itself as well as biological tissue. For example, if a rupture occurs in a bracelet-shaped electrothermal generator, it is sufficient to connect the two ends with each other and press them firmly, in order for them to join again. Upon the end of the device’s service life, it can be placed in a special solution, in which the polymers dissolve, and the power generating units for reuse.