Wearable Device Harvests Kinetic Energy From the User’s Body

Gadgets

A new device is now invented and its uses kinetic energy by means of swinging an arm. / Photo by: RomarioIen via Shutterstock

 

According to a report published on moneycontrol.com, scientists have recently created a new wearable device that can generate energy from something as simple as swinging an arm. This new way of building energy may pave the way for more improved personal health monitoring systems that do not require traditional batteries and energy sources.

Pennsylvania State University’s Susan Trolier-McKinstry declared, “The devices we make using our optimized materials run somewhere between 5 and 50 times better than anything else that's been reported.” This statement came after the revelation that energy-harvesting devices are in increasingly high demand as the need to power millions of devices all over the world that make up the Internet of Things.

By applying continuous power to a rechargeable battery or a supercapacitor, next-generation energy harvesters can be the key to reduce labor costs of changing out batteries and cleaning up dead batteries from landfills.

There are specific crystals that can produce an electric current when compressed. They can also change into different shapes when an electric charge is applied. This piezoelectric effect is quite useful for multiple different devices, in particular, those designed to harvest energy.

Trolier-McKinstry’s group used a well-known piezoelectric material known as PZT and coated both sides of a flexible metal foil to achieve greater thickness than the previous iterations of their device.

Having greater volume of the active material can equate to more generation of power. By further orienting the film’s crystal structure to better optimize polarization, the effectiveness of energy harvesting gets increased dramatically.

The more compressive stresses that are in the film as it is grown on the flexible metal foils means that that the PZT films can sustain high levels of strain without cracking, thereby making more durable and robust devices. This can very well change energy harvesting technology as well as personal fitness and health devices for the benefit of everyone all over the world.