Thanks to the developments of computing and the smallness of electronic chips in the past decade, we have been able to track the movement of individuals as well as their health status in real time by wearing small computer devices, but the efforts of scientists do not stop searching for new, and researchers are currently doing their best to operate these computer devices depending on body temperature.
Smart watches dominate the wearable electronics market, which is expected to grow by 53 billion euros by 2025. However, the problem of energy and its storage is one of the main obstacles hindering progress in this area.
Key questions remain, including where will these electronics get energy, where will their batteries be charged, and how long can these batteries store energy?
Many companies and platforms are currently trying to find solutions to these important questions, as many of them are overcoming the difficulties that would make wearable technology highly efficient, which paves the way for a future where energy is generated from our clothes and the environment around us.
Previous research has shown that small amounts of energy can be obtained from the human body during 8 hours of work per day. But the materials needed to generate those small amounts of energy are either too expensive, toxic, or ineffective.
Currently, one European project, called ThermoTex, seeks to use human body heat to power small devices.
It is known that thermal energy can be converted into electrical energy if there is a temperature difference such as that found between a person’s skin and the temperature of the surrounding environment.
In this case, electrons move from the hotter material to the cooler, generating an electric potential, and this phenomenon is known as the thermoelectric effect.
The Thermotex project seeks to design long, repeatable chains of molecules known as polymers with better thermoelectric properties than those currently available. By grafting these polymers with other materials, they actually improved the efficiency of the process and generated enough electrical charge to generate electricity.
However, there are many concerns regarding the safety of these restaurants, especially if they are used in electronic wearable devices. Therefore, scientists have identified 50 grafted materials for detailed study in a large project called “HORATES” funded by the European Union to produce organic or organic restaurants. Carbon based thermoelectric materials.
In another attempt, Thermotex purchased commercial conductive polymers for grafting silk. Then they embroidered inlaid silk taking the form of a dotted grid. This dotted network of inlaid silk acts as a conduit between body heat and outside air. This eventually enabled them to operate sensors that monitor vital body processes using body heat.
Power supply platform
On the other hand, another project known as “Smart2Go” aims to create a self-contained platform the size of a palm that supplies power to electronic wearable devices. This platform made of metal foil depends on collecting the energy produced by the thermoelectric effect and then storing it or Use them on demand.
Smart To Go is also collaborating with a textile company to integrate its platform with materials that can harvest energy. This may help in designing safe, glow-in-the-dark clothing.
In spite of this, the devices for harvesting and generating energy are not very efficient, so far, these devices can only harvest 1% at most of the thermal energy and store it.
However, despite these challenges, the biggest hurdle for wearable electronics may not be technical, as there are other issues that require solutions, including the ability of wearable electronics to collect data on the wearer and how it processes and stores this data. This raises many security concerns that must be taken seriously.