Scientists have developed a new light-weight, conductive material which can convert body heat into electricity, and lead to T-shirts or arm bands that generate power for wearable electronics.
The prototypes, developed by researchers at North Carolina (NC) State University in the US, are lightweight, conform to the shape of the body, and can generate far more electricity than previous lightweight heat harvesting technologies.
The researchers also identified the optimal site on the body for heat harvesting.
"Wearable thermoelectric generators (TEGs) generate electricity by making use of the temperature differential between your body and the ambient air," said Daryoosh Vashaee, associate professor at NC State.
"Our technology generates up to 20 microwatt per square centimetre and doesn't use a heat sink, making it lighter and much more comfortable," he said.
The new design begins with a layer of thermally conductive material that rests on the skin and spreads out the heat. The conductive material is topped with a polymer layer that prevents the heat from dissipating through to the outside air. This forces the body heat to pass through a centrally-located TEG that is one square centimetre.
(Feature image source: Twitter/@doctr_pro)