Researchers have developed a “wearable thermo-element” that can generate electricity from one’s own body temperature when worn.
A research team led by Professor Jo Byeong-jin of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has developed a “wearable thermo-element” or a strip of material that can generate electricity from body temperature when worn on the body.
The thermo-element is designed to be a power source for wearable devices. The material is made of fiber glass and can be easily embedded into clothing or wearable devices. It is lightweight and has a high efficiency in terms of producing electricity as compared to the ceramic-based solutions currently available. The ceramic-based materials tend to be hard, heavy, and difficult to integrate into wearable devices.
According to a report on ETNews, a 10-cm strip is capable of producing approximately 40mW of power, enough to start a semiconductor chip. When increased to a size of 50 cm to 100 cm, it can produce about 2 W, enough power for a mobile phone.
According to the research lead, the thermo-element can be commercialized within two to three years as long as they resolve issues related to “element integration process optimization and mass-production.” He also added that the material can usher in an “era of portable devices that do not require batteries by commercializing this element that produces electricity when worn as a clothing item.”
The study was part of a base type convergence study project supported by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.