In a new development, scientists at the Nanyang Technological University have developed the prototype of a supple and stretchable battery that receives power from human sweat.
The prototype comprises a printed silver flake electrode that produces electricity using sweat. With a dimension of 2 cm by 2 cm, the battery is flat and small as a paper bandage, and is attached to a sweat absorbing and flexible textile. The latter is stretchable and can be joined to wearable devices such as arm straps and wrist bands.
The team of scientist tested the device with artificial human sweat to demonstrate its potential use for wearable biosensors and electronic devices.
In a separate trial, an individual carrying the battery around the wrist and cycling on a stationary bike for 30 minutes was reported to be able to produce a voltage of 4.2 V. An output power of 3.9mW generated that was sufficient to power a commercial temperature sensor device and transmit data continuously to a smartphone via Bluetooth.
The battery is free of heavy metals or toxic chemicals unlike conventional batteries that are often created using unsustainable environment harmful to the environment.
The development of the newly created battery could serve as a more sustainable alternative to reduce harmful electronic waste, and reflects the commitment of NTU to find solutions to alleviate their impact on the environment. This is one of the four grand challenges faced by humanity that NTU seeks to address within the NTU 2025 strategic plan.
The development showcases a previously unreachable milestone in the design of wearable devices. To strive to capitalize on the ubiquitous product, this could be a way forward at a more environmentally friendly approach.