Penn State University has launched a new study to explore the possibility of wearable devices that can gain energy from human movement and breathing.
The research team outlined that the use of micro-supercapacitors can enable a flexible, self-powered system for use in health monitoring devices without the negatives of current supercapacitors and batteries, including limited flexibility and low energy density.
“Penn State University's study explores wearable devices that can gain energy from human movement and breathing. “
The research team explored alternative device combination methods and architectures and published their results in Nano Energy. While reducing deformation of micro-supercapacitors, the results suggested that the configuration stretches and bends at the bridges when micro-supercapacitor cells are arranged in a serpentine, island bridge layout. Cheng outlined that the island-bridge design achieved adjustable voltage outputs and enabled for the system to be reversibility expanded up to one-hundred per cent. By using 3D laser-induced graphene foam and ultra-thin, non-layered zinc-phosphorus nanosheets to conduct the design of the cells, the team saw significant improvements in the number of absorbed energised ions and electric conductivity.
Huanyu ‘Larry’ Cheng, Dorothy Quiggle career development professor in Penn State’s Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics and study led, stated: “While working on gas sensors and other wearable devices we always need to combine these devices with a battery for powering. Using micro-supercapacitors gives us the ability to self-power the sensor without the need for a battery. When we have this wireless charging module that’s based on the triboelectric nanogenerator we can harvest energy based on motion, such as bending your elbow or breathing and speaking. We are able to use these everyday human motions to charge the micro-supercapacitors.”