Wearable electronic devices can help to monitor people’s health if used appropriately. Some scientists have developed smartwatches and activity trackers that generate power from the sweat of the wearer.
For the past years, electronic devices’ miniaturization has taken big strides. Wearable sensors are a type of device that has developed with time. These devices are worn on the skin to measure biosignals and send measurements to computers or smartphones. This helps to track the health of users.
It has been very challenging to get a suitable source of power for wearable biosensors, although different types of electrodes and circuits for wearable devices have been developed by material scientists. Button materials typically used in pocket calculators and wristwatches are bulky while thinner batteries could have safety issues.
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A team of scientists is looking for ways to utilize sweat as the power source for wearable devices. The scientists who are led by an Associate professor from Tokyo University of Science presented a design for a biofuel cell that utilizes lactate, a chemical in sweat, to produce enough power to drive wireless communication devices for a short period.
This biofuel cell array can be worn on the arm. It has a paper substrate that repels water. Several biofuel cells are laid on the paper substrate. The number of cells is determined by the output power and voltage needed.
Electrochemical reactions between enzyme and lactate generate an electric current that flows to a current collector. This lactate-based biofuel cell is different from other lactate-based biofuel cells. This is because the device can be designed through screen printing.