Check Out This New Wearable Tech That's Powered by Sweat and Screen-Printed Right Onto Material
If we were to tell you that scientists are developing wearable technology that feeds off of us for power, you might immediately picture a naked, bald Keanu Reeves waking up in his little goo sac thing surrounded by countless other human batteries and those flying machines from "The Matrix," and then you'd swear off technology forever.
No, we're not here to scaremonger about the singularity or robot overlords. This is good news, we promise.
Scientists from the Université Grenoble Alpes in France and U.C. San Diego developed a way to create stretchable, flexible wearable technology that uses compounds present in human sweat to power it.
The material is made up of carbon nanotubes connected by stretchable components screen-printed onto the material.
The biofuel cell, which follows deformations in the skin, produces electrical energy through the reduction of oxygen and the oxidation of the lactate present in perspiration. Once applied to the arm, it uses a voltage booster to continuously power an LED. It is relatively simple and inexpensive to produce, with the primary cost being the production of the enzymes that transform the compounds found in sweat. The researchers are now seeking to amplify the voltage provided by the biofuel cell in order to power larger portable devices.
This has a lot of implications for consumer electronics as well as in the medical field. With the rate that sports teams are monitoring their athletes' vitals during training and games, it could create a new avenue for distributors to sell promotional, wearable technology to teams, gyms, schools and more (down the line, of course).
There's also the opportunity for its use in hospitals, physical therapy centers and more. With such a focus on safe, environmentally-friendly technology, this could be a huge advancement, and totally is not a means of creating a post-apocalyptic wasteland of machines using humans for power.