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The sweat from human fingertips could soon power smartwatches and other wearables

The futuristic biofuel cell looks like a prop from a science fiction movie (Image: UCSD)
The futuristic biofuel cell looks like a prop from a science fiction movie (Image: UCSD)
The innovative biofuel cells are capable of converting sweat and the pressure from your fingertips into electric energy, which could soon be enough to power smartwatches and other wearables and sensors. In the long term, this invention could also make integrated batteries obsolete.
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Ingenious engineers at the University of California San Diego have recently presented an intriguing research project which could have a major impact on the ever-growing wearables market. Their invention is a tiny biofuel cell which is so small and thin that it can be comfortably attached to one's fingertips. In basic terms, the cell is able to utilize the chemical energy of human sweat in order to produce electric energy. Additionally, a miniaturized piezoelectric generator can harvest the kinetic energy that is produced when a finger is pressed against another object, for example the touchscreen of a smartphone.

The device is particularly fascinating because it can produce energy passively, the user does not have to be physically active or produce an unusual amount of sweat for the biofuel cell to work. Even when sleeping, the cell can currently harvest 0.1 mWh of energy for every ten hours of sleep.

It may not sound like much, but the amount of energy can be easily increased by wearing one biofuel cell on every single finger. Even though this would still not be enough to power an Apple Watch (US$319 on Amazon) at the present time, it's an exciting concept that demonstrates how smartwatches, wearables and other sensors could soon be powered by bioenergy that is constantly produced by the human body.

Source(s)

UC San Diego via heise, Image: UCSD

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Enrico Frahn
Editor of the original article: Enrico Frahn - Tech Writer - 79 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2021
My fascination for technology goes back a long way to the Pentium II era. Modding, overclocking and treasuring computer hardware has since become an integral part of my life. As a student, I further developed a keen interest in mobile technologies that can make the stressful college life so much easier. After I fell in love with the creation of digital content while working in a marketing position, I now scour the web to bring you the most exciting topics in the world of tech. Outside the office, I’m particularly passionate about motorsports and mountain biking.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 07 > The sweat from human fingertips could soon power smartwatches and other wearables
Enrico Frahn, 2021-07-22 (Update: 2021-07-22)