What if your wearable gadgets could harvest body heat to power themselves so that they never ran out of battery? Soon, damaged chargers and lack of power outlets may be problems of the past as scientists come closer to creating wearable thermoelectric generators that are flexible, durable, self-healing, and recyclable.
Currently, scientists can insert modular thermoelectric chips with liquid-metal wiring into stretchy material that is not only durable but self-healing. This means that if you damage your device by accident, the tear can re-establish electrical conductivity in approximately 90 minutes. This technology also allows for the material to be rearranged into various configurations.
Wearable gadgets must sustain the impact of daily tasks that are not always electronic-friendly such as doing the dishes, so to have a self-repairing device that can stretch and be molded to best fit the wearer is an exciting prospect.
This is an especially impressive accomplishment because thermoelectric generator chips are usually very rigid and easily broken. Not only have scientists developed a durable substance to protect the chips, the latest design (which is roughly the size of a typical sports band) can also generate five volts of power just by walking.
There is still a lot of research to be done before wearable gadgets are fully able to self-charge by harvesting body heat. This is because the devices themselves and the sensors inside them require way more power to function continuously than what today’s designs can generate.
Nevertheless, this groundbreaking progress is certainly worth looking into because this technology will promote sustainable energy, has the potential to reduce the use of batteries (which are terrible for the environment), and decrease e-waste over-all.