The US Department of Defense talks about new developments in their attempts to channel thermal and kinetic energies.
As electronics continue to get smaller, it opens more possibilities for wearing microchips to enhance quality of life. One of the bigger obstacles was finding a viable power source. The solution, DARPA (the research division of the US Department of Defense) believes, lies with harnessing our body’s inherent electric current to power micro-scale embedded gadgets. Their Energy Starved Electronics program was founded in 2005 with the objective of finding legitimate ways to harness the human body as a power source.
Energy Starved Electronics have released some information on their latest development:
Anantha Chandrakasan, an electrical engineering professor at MIT, and his former student Yogesh Ramadass are exploring how to channel thermal and kinetic energies produced by the human body into electricity. The team discovered that by applying mechanical pressure to “piezoelectric materials,” they could produce an electric current, which could then be stored in solid-state capacitors on a chip a few square millimeters small and discharged when needed. “Thermoelectric materials” also produce electricity when exposed to two different temperatures (i.e. body heat and the cooler air around it), and could also be placed on the chip.