New wearable thermoelectric generators created to power biosensors

Engineering

New proof-of-concept wearable thermoelectric generators have been created using novel circuit designs, offering potential in the field of biosensor technology.

A team from the Georgia Institute of Technology have made use of flexible conducting polymers and novel circuitry patterns printed on paper that offer symmetrical fractal wiring patterns, allowing them to be cut to the size needed to provide the necessary voltage and power.

β€œNew wearable thermoelectric generators have been developed that can harvest energy from body heat in order to power simple biosensors.β€œ

These modular generators could be inkjet-printed on flexible substrates, including fabric, and manufactured using inexpensive roll-to-roll techniques, allowing wearers to generate power through their body heat and movements.

This technology could be used to power simple heart rate sensors or to supplement batteries, allowing devices to operate for longer periods of time. It is hoped that it could eventually be incorporated into commercial textiles worn on a day-to-day basis.

Akanksha Menon of the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology said: "The attraction of thermoelectric generators is that there is heat all around us. If we can harness a little bit of that heat and turn it into electricity inexpensively, there is great value."

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