Wearable devices may soon be made entirely from recycled waste materials – and powered by human movement, thanks to a new energy-harvesting device developed at the University of Surrey.
Scientists have unveiled a wrist device made from discarded paper wipes and plastic cups that run on energy from the wearer’s movements. The prototype device can transmit Morse code, and the team is now focusing on plans to use this technology in smartwatches.
Dr. Bhaskar Dudem, project lead and research fellow at the University of Surrey’s Institute for Advanced Technology (ATI), said, “It won’t be long until we have to ask ourselves what things we have that are connected to the Internet.” However, the current Internet-of-Things (IoT) revolution highlights the simple fact that our planet does not have the raw resources to make these devices that are in such high demand.
“Our research shows that there is a way to create sustainable technology that runs on the electricity we use, the users of that technology.”
The device is “self-powered,” thanks to the materials that become electrically charged once they come into contact with each other. These materials (also known as triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs)) use static charges to harvest energy from movement through a process called electrostatic induction.
Developers believe their energy-harvesting wearable device could be a game-changer of the future for the consumer, medical and security sectors.
Professor Ravi Silva, Director of ATI at the University of Surrey, said, “The Institute for Advanced Technology’s core mission is to help create a world where clean energy is available to all. Our energy-harvesting technology is a symbol of this core mission, and we We are ready to work with the industry to ensure that this technology reaches its full potential.”
research was published in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces,
Smart devices may soon tap their owners as a battery source
Bhaskar Dudem et al, Wearable triboelectric nanogenerators from waste materials for autonomous information transmission via Morse code, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces (2022). DOI: 10.1021/acsami.1c20984
Provided by University of Surrey
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