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Radio Powered By Sweat Hints At What Future Wearables Can Achieve

Radio Powered By Sweat Hints At What Future Wearables Can Achieve
Design & Architecture

A new wearable patch absorbed the energy from a person's sweat to use in a biofuel battery that then powered a radio for several days

Zack Palm
  • 29 june 2017

Researchers from the University of California have created a wearable patch that can convert human sweat into energy that can power a radio for several days. This was done by filling the patch with enzymes rather than metals normally found in a battery. These enzymes extract the sweat and convert the lactic acid found in sweat into fuel for biofuel cells, which is then put in the radio.

While the success of the patch demonstrates promise for wearables in the future that contain biofuel power cells, this research also shows how a person can learn about their health through their sweat. How? Because a person’s sweat contains vast amounts of information from their muscle health to the amount of glucose in their bloodstream. An application could theoretically track a person’s health through a sweat-powered wearable while also providing accurate health statistics following the individual’s workout route.

The biofuel cell used in this study retained the largest amount of energy of any biofuel cell to date.

Biofuel Wearable Patch

+biofuel
+biofuel cell
+Design
+enzyme
+Fashion
+patch
+sweat
+technology
+University of California
+wearable technology

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Joanne is a writer focused on how technology is shaping art, politics and society. She currently contributes to Medium’s technology-focused opinion magazine, The Message, and is writing a book on privacy and Internet culture. Previously, she was the editor of Rhizome at the New Museum. This year, she received the Arts Writing Fellowship Award and was named as a fellow at the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation, given to an emerging writer in the digital arts. Joanne has also collaborated on the award-winning proposal to develop workshops for building private networks for the Digital Media and Learning Competition’s Trust Challenge. Her writing has been featured in Domus, Dissent, Frieze, the Baffler, Modern Painters, WIRED, the Los Angeles Times, Saturated Space, Dirty Furniture, the Boston Globe and n+1.

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