This thin, flexible band of finger sweat generates a small amount of electricity—
wearables are very hot right now, with more than 100 million units of smartwatches, fitness trackers, augmented reality glasses, and similar technologies being consumed in the first quarter of the year. 2021 alone. Sales in this group increased 34.4% in the second quarter compared to the second quarter of 2020, making it one of the fastest growing personal electronics products. p>
Accompanying this increase is an increase in the demand for practical, efficient, fuel-efficient machines that can supply these wearables constantly. A team of engineers at the University of California, San Diego are designing a new type of biofuel cell that harnesses energy from the sweat of your finger, according to a recent article in the Journal of Jules. It can also be combined with piezoelectric generators to extract energy from finger pressure. Success may one day provide you with wearable energy while writing or sleeping.
Most wearable electronic devices these days are powered by small electrochemical storage devices such as batteries and supercapacitors, but these electronic devices are limited in time. They can provide electronic devices with long-term use. In addition to finding smart ways to reduce the energy consumption of these devices, energy harvesters are a promising solution. According to the authors, some automated sensors have succeeded in reducing power consumption, but these sensors are unable to provide the signals needed for efficient data transmission.Read more The gel-based touchscreen allows you to play chess on your arm
So there is a lot of interest in developing automated harvesting systems, solar energy, body motions, biofuels or tilting. There are temperature limits (i.e. very old fashioned thermodynamic) each type has its own limits. For example, the sun is not always shining, and thermoelectric devices require temperature differences between users and their surroundings. Harvesting machines that rely on the movements of the body usually require strenuous exercises to extract the necessary energy.
The main challenge for all these new energy sources is a measure called energy yield (EROI), which is basically the proportion of how much energy is actively invested in a system that would otherwise be needed. The amount of energy harvested at the end. For example, a motion-based energy accumulator harnesses less than 1 percent of the total personal energy entering the machine through strenuous exercise. Ideally, you want an energy picker that relies on constant passive input from the human body. Typically you want to get the most out of your energy investment. You don't want to put too much energy into a workout to get back little energy," said Joseph Wang, co-author. From the University of California, he said his lab produced biofuel cells that were activated eight years ago with high concentrations of lactate in human sweat. “But here, we wanted to create a device for everyday activities that requires almost no energy investment – you can completely forget about the device and sleep or work like a writing desk, but still generate power. You can call it 'the power of nothing'.” p>
In fact, according to Wang et al., their machine has the most desirable EROI ever for bioenergy harvesters. This change is a pattern from what they call "working for energy" to "living for power."Their secret: Passive sweating is known as fingertip sweat. Our hands and fingers are much more than that. They produce sweat than we think, because our fingers are constantly exposed to air and allow any sweat to evaporate quickly. In fact, fingertips contain the highest concentration of sweat glands Anywhere in the human body, including the armpits. Fingertips produce sweat at a rate equivalent to a few microliters per centimeter.
"Even with an amount of sweating for a minute compared to sweat produced by sweat," author Luo Yin told New Scientist. : "It's an intense workout, that strength is still very important." "No matter how clean your hand is, it's very easy to get fingerprints all over the place. That's basically leftover your sweat, with a lot of metabolites. What we've done is take advantage of that." The new UCSD Biofuel Cell is a thin, flexible tape that wraps around your finger like a bandage. There is a pad of electrodes made of carbon foam as well as a hydrogel that absorbs any kind of perspiration. Enzymes in the electrodes cause chemical reactions between the lactate and oxygen molecules in sweat and generate electricity. They later added a piezoelectric chip to generate more power by simply pressing one's fingertips against the body. This energy is then stored in a small capacitor for the necessary duration.Advertising
The UCSF team found that their biofuel cells can produce approximately 400 millijoules of energy per square centimeter (enough to power an electric hour for 24 hours). As a subject, sleep for ten hours. With an hour of typing or a mouse click, approximately 30 millijoules were produced from a fingertip. Adding the straps to the rest of the fingers can generate ten times more energy, which in turn generates a high return on the energy investment. "When you sleep, you do nothing," said Yin. “Even with the flick of a finger, you only invest about half a millijoule.”
The UCSD team connected a biofuel cell to a low- and low-level chemical sensor to demonstrate the practicality of their device. An electric display that reads the data collected by the sensor. They attach the system to the subject to control how much vitamin C they take in after taking the supplement. Another experiment involves feeding a sodium sensor to monitor the number of sodium ions, such as salt water. They found that the sensor and screen could be secured by pressing the device ten times every ten seconds or by wearing tape for two minutes on the tip of a finger.
The next step is to improve the efficiency of the new biofuel cell as well as to combine it with other types of harvesters for specific conditions. Processes such as highly energy efficient, easy-to-use, and biocompatible, along with system integration and corresponding logical energy budget, can also be replicated, with the exception of hydrogels for improved durability and excessive moisture retention. Promises to create next-generation self-sustainable, reliable, and independent skin care electronic systems for tracking healthcare, the authors conclude. DOI: Joule, 2021. 10.1016 j.joule.2021.06.004 (About DOI).Engineers at the University of California, San Diego have created a thin, flexible tape that can be worn on fingertips and sweated or squeezed a little. generates electricity.
Photo courtesy of UCSF School of Engineering
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