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The human body is an Energy source!

Nano engineers at the University of California San Diego, have invented a "wearable microgrid" that captures and stores energy from the human body to power small gadgets. Sweat-powered biofuel cells, motion-powered devices known as ‘triboelectric generators’, and energy-storing supercapacitors are the three primary components. All of the components are stretchy, washable, and can be screen printed on garments. The concept is based on community microgrids, according to a paper published in Nature Communications on March 9th.

"We're using the microgrid concept to construct wearable systems that are powered sustainably, reliably, and independently," said Lu Yin, a nanoengineering PhD student at the University of California, San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. "A wearable microgrid integrates devices that locally harvest energy from diverse portions of the body, such as perspiration and movement while having energy storage, just like a city microgrid integrates a range of local, renewable power sources like wind and solar."

The wearable microgrid is made up of a variety of flexible electronic pieces developed by UC San Diego Nanoengineering professor Joseph Wang's Nano bioelectronics team, as well as the present study's corresponding author. 

Each component is screen printed on a shirt and strategically placed to maximize energy collection.

Inside the shirt, at the chest, are biofuel cells that capture energy from sweat. Triboelectric generators, which convert movement energy into electricity, are found on the forearms and sides of the torso towards the waist, outside the shirt. 

They get their energy via walking or running and swinging their arms against the torso. Outside the shirt on the breast, supercapacitors temporarily store and discharge energy from both devices to power small electronics.

The wearable microgrid can power gadgets rapidly and constantly by harvesting energy from both movement and sweat. Before the user even breaks a sweat, the triboelectric generators start supplying power.

The biofuel cells begin to provide electricity whenever the user begins to sweat, and they continue to do so even after the user has stopped moving.



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