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Matrix-like portable device turns the body into a BATTERY



Matrix-like portable device turns the body into a BATTERY by tapping into the user’s internal heat which is transformed into electricity

  • A new portable device turns your body into a biological battery
  • The elastic device sits on the skin and converts body heat into electricity
  • It generates one volt of energy from every square inch of skin area
  • The team hopes to increase it to a sports band size to generate five volts
  • This will allow users to use portable electronics on the go – no need for wires

A new portable device seems to draw inspiration from the movie ‘The Matrix’ by transforming the human body into a biological battery.

The elastic device attaches to the skin like a ring sits on a finger and taps into the user’s natural heat to convert the body’s internal temperature into electricity.

Although the film shows robots that harvest organic energy from humans, research at the University of Colorado (CU) generates only about one volt of energy from every square inch of skin space.

The team is finally seeing the technology evolve to the size of a sports bracelet that can produce about five volts of power, allowing you to power other portable electronics on the go.

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A new portable device transforms the human body into a biological battery.  The elastic device attaches to the skin like a ring sits on a finger and taps into the user's natural heat to convert the body's internal temperature into electricity.

A new portable device transforms the human body into a biological battery. The elastic device attaches to the skin like a ring sits on a finger and taps into the user’s natural heat to convert the body’s internal temperature into electricity.

Jianliang Xiao, senior author of the new paper and associate professor at Paul M. Rady’s Department of Mechanical Engineering at CU Boulder, said: ‘When you use a battery, you drain the battery and will eventually need to replace it.’

‘The great thing about our thermoelectric device is that you can use it, and it gives you constant power.’

Xiao notes that this innovation is not an attempt to fuse humans with robots, but is a progression on previous work on designing ‘electronic skin’ wearables that look and function like human skin.

During experiments, however, the team had to keep the android skin connected to an external power source.

Although 'The Matrix' depicts robots harvesting organic energy from humans, research at the University of Colorado (CU) generates only about one volt of energy from every square inch of skin space.

Although ‘The Matrix’ depicts robots harvesting organic energy from humans, research at the University of Colorado (CU) generates only about one volt of energy from every square inch of skin space.

The new portable unit has an elastic material made of polyimine at the base, which is equipped with a series of thin thermoelectrics connected by liquid metal wires.

“The final product looks like a cross between a plastic bracelet and a miniature motherboard or perhaps a technical diamond ring,” the researchers said in a statement.

“Our design allows the entire system to be stretched without imposing much strain on the thermoelectric material, which can be very brittle,” said Xiao.

Xiao gives an example of a person jogging to explain how the device works.

The new portable unit has an elastic material made of polyimine at the bottom, which is equipped with a series of thin thermoelectric connected by liquid metal wires

The new portable unit has an elastic material made of polyimine at the bottom, which is equipped with a series of thin thermoelectric connected by liquid metal wires

The person is looking for a jog, which in turn warms up their body, which is released into the cold air around them.

Xiao’s device captures that flow of energy instead of letting it go to waste.

‘The thermoelectric generators are in close contact with the human body, and they can use the heat that will normally be distributed in the environment,’ he said.

He added that you can easily increase the power by adding more blocks of generators. In that sense, he compares the design to a popular children’s toy.

Xiao gives an example of a person jogging to explain how the device works.  The person is looking for a jog, which in turn warms up their body, which is released into the cold air around them.  Xiao's device captures that flow of energy instead of letting it go to waste

Xiao gives an example of a person jogging to explain how the device works. The person is looking for a jog, which in turn warms up their body, which is released into the cold air around them. Xiao’s device captures that flow of energy instead of letting it go to waste

“What I can do is combine these smaller units to get a larger unit,” he said. ‘It’s like putting together a bunch of little Lego pieces to make a big structure. It gives you many options for customization. ‘

Finally, the team hopes to design the small device for a larger system the size of a traditional sports band, which can generate up to five volts – more than what a watch battery produces.

“We strive to make our devices as cheap and reliable as possible, while having as close an impact on the environment as possible,” Xiao said.

While there are still kinks to be trained in the design, he believes the group’s devices could appear on the market in five to ten years. Just do not tell the robots. We do not want them to have any ideas.

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