With smartphone batteries still struggling to catch up to the advancements in display and mobile processor technology, the issue of battery power is becoming an increasingly important one, and with wearable technology set to explode in the next few years, companies have been looking for alternative methods of powering their devices.
One such avenue of research has been yielding some pretty promising results, as a team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology potentially unlocking a way to harness the power of users' body heat to keep devices ticking over.
By utilizing a flexible thermoelectric generator that converts the heat generated by the body into energy, the research team believes that they could be onto a method that might power future generations of smart technoloogy.
The team's lead, Byung Jin Cho, outlined the methodology behind the research while speaking to Phys.org, saying:
For our case, the glass fabric itself serves as the upper and lower substrates of a TE generator, keeping the inorganic TE materials in between.This is quite a revolutionary approach to design a generator. In so doing, we were able to significantly reduce the weight of our generator, which is an essential element for wearable electronics.
One major issue that stands between the theoretical ideas and actual real-world utilization is the fact that thermoelectric generators are still quite new, and lighter, flexible organic variants have a low power yeild, while inorganic ones are still too big and bulky to be practical.
It's definitely an interesting take on things, though, and it's the kind of thinking that we'll need to see more of in the future should we have any desire to see wearable technology really take off.