University of Edinburgh team makes self-charging wearables breakthrough
A team of University of Edinburgh PhD students has developed a way to harness the energy produced by the human body in a development that could make self-charging smartwatches and health trackers a reality.
The team has tweaked the chemistry used in the production of a material that generates electricity when pressure is applied to it to create differently sized silicon-encased power sources.
Tests have shown the devices can produce 40 microwatts of electricity per square centimetre, which the researchers say is twice as much as can be produced by the most powerful type of mini-generator already in existence.
The team believes that further development of the structures could extend the life of – or even replace – conventional batteries in wearable technologies, helping to reduce electronic waste and energy consumption.
Francisco Diaz Sanchez, who led the research within the university’s School of Engineering, said: “With ever-growing interest in the development of electronic wearable devices and implants, the generation of electronic waste and the limitations associated with battery capacity remain some of the key challenges to overcome.
“The materials we have developed bring us one step closer to the sustainable development of wearable electronics.”
The team’s study was supported by Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology and published in the journal Nano Energy.