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Body Heat Can Be the Source of Power for Wearable Devices

The aim is to create a product that can be mass produced

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Body Heat Converted Into Electricity Powers Health Sensors. (VOA)
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There has been an increasing number of wearable heat technologies that have health sensors as medical tools to track a person’s well-being. Many of these devices need to be charged or are battery-powered.

A handful of researchers want to take batteries out of the equation and instead, use waste body heat and convert that into useful electricity to power sensors.

“The average person is something like an 80-watt light bulb,” said Jamie Grunlan, Texas A&M University’s Linda & Ralph Schmidt ’68 Professor in Mechanical Engineering.

Grunlan and his team of researchers are working on using the waste heat the body gives off and converting that into useful electricity. The idea is to create printable, paintable thermoelectric technology that looks like ink and can coat a wearable fabric, similar to dyeing colors onto cloth. Once a person wears the fabric, devices such as health sensors can be powered.

“Our coating coats every fiber within that textile, and so what’s drawing it is simply that textile needs to just be touching the heat source or be close enough to the heat source to be feeling the heat source,” Grunlan said.

Military and sporting goods companies have applications for this type of technology because there is not a large battery pack worn on the body that could be a cause of injury if the person would fall.

“They would love to power health sensors off of body heat and then wirelessly transmit that data to wherever,” Grunlan explained. “You’d like to know if somebody had a concussion or was dehydrated or something like that while it’s happening in real time.”

As a person generates heat, the temperature outside is colder than what’s against the body. The temperature differential generates a voltage.

The goal is to design technology that can get one volt or up to 10 percent efficiency and beyond. So, for example, a researcher would try to get eight watts from a person who is generating 80 watts.

The ingredients in this thermoelectric recipe include carbon nanotubes, polymers and a carbon material called graphene, which is a nanoparticle.

Researchers are trying to perfect the recipe of this ink-like material.

“The one voltage is realistic, but how much material do we need to get that one voltage because we need as little as possible?” said Carolyn Long, a Ph.D. graduate student at Texas A&M.

Also Read about- Google Takes Initiative To Clean And Make Our Planet Healthy

“So, different polymers, different amounts of the multi-walled or double-walled nanotubes, adding the graphene, which order it needs to go in exactly to create the best pathway for the electrons for the thermoelectric material,” said Long of the various experiments she and her lab mates have conducted.

The aim is to create a product that can be mass produced.

“It will happen. It’s not will it happen. It’s when. Is it a year, or is it five years?” Grunlan said.

That will depend on how much funding and manpower is available to make this technology a reality. (VOA)

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IG Smart Environment: All You Need To Know

If you keep your home at the same temperature all day, you have an opportunity to improve your energy consumption

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LED light bulbs are environment friendly and also helps in reducing electricity bills. Pixabay
  • High electricity bills are everyone’s problem
  • There are certain ways in which one can reduce their energy consumption
  • One of the ways is to use LEDs

infographicAre you feeling like your energy bills are a bit too high? Or have you gotten used to paying more than you should be? With a few simple changes around the house, you can reduce your energy consumption significantly. This is excellent for the environment, but it’s also good for your checkbook. Look into a couple of simple practices, such as replacing inefficient light bulbs, to make your home a better place.

There are ways in which one can save themselves from high electricity bills. Wikimedia Commons

If you’re running incandescent bulbs, you’re using more energy than necessary. LED light bulbs are the superior choice. They use 75 percent less energy compared to their incandescent counterparts, and they last 2.5 times longer. The reduced energy use is good for your home and for the planet — widespread use of LEDs could save up to 348 TWh of energy by 2027. That’s a projected cost savings of $30 million. Once you have your new LEDs installed, consider how you manage your home’s HVAC system.

Also Read: Indian Scientist makes a Cell that can produce Electricity from Water, also seeks Commercialisation of Invention

If you keep your home at the same temperature all day, you have an opportunity to improve your energy consumption. Install a programmable thermostat so you can lower the temperature while you’re out of the house and raise it back on your way home. If you can adjust the temperature by roughly 10 degrees for at least eight hours a day, you can reduce your energy consumption by 10 percent. These are a couple of simple changes, but they’ll make a big difference. Other cost-saving, environmentally conscious tips for better home management are outlined in the following infographic.

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