Engineers at the University of California have designed a “wearable microgrid” that retains energy from human beings’ sweat to power small electronics.
This device has 3 main components such as supercapacitors, triboelectric generators, and sweat-powered biofuel. All of these components are flexible and washable.
We are applying the concept of the microgrid to create wearable systems that are powered sustainably, reliably, and independently.Lu Yin, a nanoengineering Ph.D. student
This device is designed with a combination of flexible electronic components developed by an engineering team of Joseph Wnag, a nanoegineering professor at UC San Diego. Each part of this device is placed in a way that it maximizes the amount of energy absorbed.
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Nanoengineers tested this microgrid on a subject during a 30-minute session. This device could power a small electrochromic device or an LCD wristwatch. To produce electricity, the biofuel cells are powered with enzymes that make electrons swap between lactate and oxygen molecules in sweat.
Wang and his team members reported these sweat-absorbing wearables in 2013. After working with some of his colleagues, these nanoengineers updated this wearable microgrid to be strong enough to power small electronics.
The triboelectric generators are composed of charged material. These generators offer pulses of high voltage and each wearable offer several type of power. These engineers need to combine these different voltages and regulate them into one voltage, for this system to run the devices.