Flexible fingertip Engineers at the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) have created a thin, flexible tape that can be used with fingertips and produces a small amount of electricity when a person sweats or presses it.
Sweat-powered devices can give power to an entire new generation by harnessing the energy from human sweat, even when no one is moving.
“Like other sweat-controlled wearable fabrics, the user doesn’t need a physical input to use it,” said Lu Yin, a nanotechnology student at UC San Diego Jacobs University of Technology. “This work is a step towards making the user more practical, comfortable and accessible everyday.”
Flexible fingertip The device produces extra power with light fingerprints, such as typing, teaching, playing the piano, or tapping a morse code. All of these activities may become an energy source for the wearable in the future.
Joseph Wang, a professor of nanotechnology at UC San Diego, said: “We thought it could be used in any daily activity that involves contact, usually made at work, at home, watching TV or eating,” said the Jacobs School of Design. The goal is to do this dress-up work for you and you don’t have to worry about it. ”
Because the finger is one of the most sweaty places in the body, most of the energy is produced by sweat. Scientists have focused on the fingers because other parts of the body are not well ventilated, but the nails are always in the air.
How does it work
The flexible tape can be wrapped around the fingers as the tape air and the padding of the carbon foam electrodes absorbs sweat and converts it into electrical energy.
These electrodes are equipped with enzymes that cause chemical reactions between sweat lactate and oxygen molecules to produce electricity. Below these electrodes is a chip called a pipoelectric element that produces extra energy when pressed.
When users sweat or press the straps, energy is stored in a small capacitor and discharged to other devices as needed. In the experiment, 10 hours of sleep produced 400 milligrams of energy, which is enough to power a 24-hour electronic wristwatch. Clicking the mouse or keyboard produces about 30 ml.
“Using sweat on the skin of a finger – no matter where you are or what you do, flows naturally – this technology produces a net result in energy without user effort. This is what we call the highest return on investment,” Wang said.
The next step is to make the device more efficient and durable. Future research will aim to incorporate new types of cutters to create a new generation of self-propelled wearable systems.