A team of researchers at the University of California San Diego have developed a temporary tattoo-like sensor, which keeps tabs on the wearer’s exercise and then converts sweat into electricity.
The removable device works by monitoring lactate: a substance that is present in perspiration. Lactate increases with a more strenuous activity. There are some athletes and medical patients that need to watch their lactate levels for a various range of reasons. The current testing involves an invasive blood test that must be administered during an exercise session.
In this new device an enzyme on the sensor collects electrons from lactate. It is those that generate a modest electric current. The researchers used these findings and created a biobattery (the biobattery is powered by this collected charge).
The amounts of energy that are created are not in any way massive (as you may imagine). In fact, the most energy produced by a single person during the test, was 70 microWatts per square centimetre of skin. The team are releasing their findings at this weeks meeting of the American Chemical Society.
Work is already underway to increase the system. In the future this technology may be used to power small gadgets, such as watches and heart-rate sensors.
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[Image via phys.org]