Power arm band for wearables harvests body heat
The concept and design technique involves building a thermoelectric (TE) generator that minimizes thermal energy loss. The release pointed out that thermo-elements are not new. To date two types of TE generators have been developed.
“The organic-based TE generators use polymers that are highly flexible and compatible with human skin, ideal for wearable electronics. The polymers, however, have a low power output. Inorganic-based TE generators produce a high electrical energy, but they are heavy, rigid, and bulky.”
The distinguishing feature of the KAIST team’s device is that their thermo-element is lightweight, high in electric power production efficiency, and is made with glass fiber. Said Prof. Cho: “The glass fabric itself serves as the upper and lower substrates of a TE generator, keeping the inorganic TE materials in between. This is quite a revolutionary approach to design a generator. In so doing, we were able to significantly reduce the weight of our generator (~0.13g/cm2), which is an essential element for wearable electronics.”
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