backtop


Print 37 comment(s) - last by William Gaatje.. on Dec 30 at 7:22 PM


Researchers at IMEC have developed devices like this wristwatch that harvest human thermal energy and convert it into power for electronics.  (Source: IMEC via Physics Buzz)

The IMEC Heat Scavenger ECG Shirt, powered by human heat energy  (Source: IMEC via Physics Buzz)

The researchers also made this styling headband, which harvests even more electricity.  (Source: IMEC via Physics Buzz)
Hopefully the machines don't get their hands on this one

Vladimir Leonov and Ruud Vullers of the Interuniversity Microelectronics Center in Belgium have built up on past work and devised an ambitious "energy harvester" -- a device that essentially turns humans into big walking batteries.  The research could lead to iPods and cell phones that never lose charge.

The researcher's new body heat-driven power supplies strap on to your forehead as a stylish head band.  From there, they start harvesting your delicious thermal energy and turning it into electricity for the machines.  Who knew homeostasis and electronics could wed so beautifully?

One system's waste is another's treasure --  when the body gives off heat during homeostasis, the process used to maintain a constant body temperature, a gradient is created with the surrounding air (hot by the body and increasingly cold as you travel away from the skin).  Special electronics known as thermopiles can tap into this gradient and convert the energy to electricity.

The researchers demonstrated an electrocardiogram (ECG) dress shirt that looked pretty stylish and kept a monitor on your vitals to boot -- all without ever needing a battery.  For those who aren't digging the headband, the researchers showed off a little bling -- a gold watch that serves as both a heat harvester and a stylish timepiece.

The downside is that human body heat energy generation isn't very efficient -- so either your army of robots needs to be very ultra-low voltage, or you need a lot of humans to power it.  The researchers are working on developing ultra-low voltage (ULV) devices to exploit the bit of energy they manage to squeeze out.  Why not just use a tiny battery in lieu of the pricey thermo-electrics?  Because that would be plain old-fashioned, of course -- or at least that's the researchers' apparent line of thinking.

The new research can be found here, reported in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.

The idea of harvesting the kinetic and thermal waste energy produced from the human body is nothing new.  For over a century self-winding watches have harvested wrist motion to never need a battery or old-fashioned hand-winding.  Researchers are currently investigating putting similar energy harvesting devices on the wrist, hips, shoes soles, and potentially in backpacks.  The army is looking to use such piezoelectric generators in its next generation of packs to help power soldiers' ULV electronics.  Scientists have even devised tiny blood-stream generators to harvest the kinetic energy of the bloodstream to power nanoelectronics.


Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Car research already there
By Souka on 12/24/2009 11:13:06 AM , Rating: 2
I recall reading several articles over the past year talking about this same idea being applied to a car's exaust. Now that is a heat source!

Funny thing is, with hybrid's becoming more popular, electric only becoming available, such a technology loses some of its potiental effectiveness.

Anyhow... I'm in for one of those stylin' gold headbands!




RE: Car research already there
By unclesharkey on 12/24/2009 11:29:26 AM , Rating: 1
I agree with you. I am surprised they do not try to harness car exhaust and use it for generating power.


RE: Car research already there
By PitViper007 on 12/24/2009 11:42:53 AM , Rating: 5
They do. It's called a turbo-charger. Specifically the turbo compresses the air going into the combustion chamber resulting in a hotter burn which equals more horsepower. The turbo is powered by the engine's own exhaust.


RE: Car research already there
By Souka on 12/24/2009 4:22:10 PM , Rating: 2
I was refering to the technology being discussed by this article, using heat to generate power.

I think it's called thermocoupling, but regardless, the car exaust idea isn't using a turbine but the delta between the heat from the car's manifold and outside air.

Idea was to reduce load on the alternator without adding resistance to the existing ICE system. Great idea if they can implement it cost effectively (light and simple).


RE: Car research already there
By drycrust3 on 12/25/2009 12:52:43 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. When you consider that 62% of the petrol's energy is lost to the engine, then turning some of that into electricity could be a huge benefit.


RE: Car research already there
By bhieb on 12/28/2009 11:28:25 AM , Rating: 2
Problem is storage. I'd imagine this type of power generation would not be very consistent, and therefore would require a battery to store the power and feed it out at a constant rate. My guess is that the cost (in weight and $$) would be more than any savings that could be had from loosing the alternator.


RE: Car research already there
By ggordonliddy on 12/30/2009 12:05:37 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
loosing the alternator

What the hell does that mean, you illiterate blob? Are you talking about unbolting the alternator to make it looser? If not, please learn the most basic English before proceeding with your life.


RE: Car research already there
By PitViper007 on 12/30/2009 3:24:27 PM , Rating: 2
I see that mistake many times a day. You know what he meant. Ignore the spelling mistake, follow the intent of the post, and move on.


RE: Car research already there
By William Gaatjes on 12/25/2009 2:15:22 PM , Rating: 1
But since the idea is to be environmentally friendly, a turbo charger is only a partial solution. there is the turbo lag, where it takes a while for the turbo to spin up. During this moment a turbo powered car would not be that clean. Luckily, we have the MCU (motor control unit) that takes care of the injection of fuel trying to keep the optimal solution for a "best of both worlds" burn of the fuel/air mixture. More horsepower at once means more pollution. An electrical compressor with a storage of compressed air would be best for the turbo lag but probably consumes more power then it provides with a "clean" burn of the fuel/air mixture. A turbocharger is cleaner with some pollutants but produces more of the other pollutants. I wonder what would happen if you could build a cylinder/ piston combination with a build up of electrically isolated parts and create an electrical charge. Low enough that the fuel/air mixture will not ignite right away but high enough to draw the various particles of fuel and air to the best position in the cylinder. Then increase the voltage to a plasma point and kaboom. This will probably only work for diesel/(with gas injections) engines though because of the lower revolutions of the engine. Then there is more time to charge the fuel. Afcourse with diesel you do not need an ignition similair like a sparkplug.



RE: Car research already there
By Alexvrb on 12/29/2009 10:52:32 PM , Rating: 2
Properly sized modern factory turbos should not generally suffer from turbo lag, if they're designed to operate efficiently across a wide range of RPMs. That isn't even discussing faster-spooling twin turbos, variable geometry turbos, VVT, DI, etc.

Basically, you're smoking crack.


By William Gaatjes on 12/30/2009 7:22:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Basically, you're smoking crack.


I prefer to leave such a stupid and unhealthy hobby to be executed by for example you... It fit's you.


RE: Car research already there
By chagrinnin on 12/25/2009 2:58:46 AM , Rating: 1
Or cow exhaust for that matter. :P


RE: Car research already there
By fox12789 on 12/30/2009 9:31:49 AM , Rating: 1
http://www.brand-bar.com
sneaker: airmax 90, 95 etc $35-42 free shiping.
boots: UGG etc $60 free shiping.
Jeans : polo etc $35-49 free shipping
T-shirts : A&f etc $12-18 free shipping.
hoodies: 5ive etc $28-40 free shipping
handbags: Ed hardy etc $35-68 free shipping
Sunglasses: LV etc $17 free shipping
Belts: BOSS etc $15 free shipping
Caps: red bull etc $12-15 free shipping
Watches:rolex etc $80 free shipping
http://www.brand-bar.com


RE: Car research already there
By fox12789 on 12/30/2009 9:33:52 AM , Rating: 1
http://www.brand-bar.com
sneaker: airmax 90, 95 etc $35-42 free shiping.
boots: UGG etc $60 free shiping.
Jeans : polo etc $35-49 free shipping
T-shirts : A&f etc $12-18 free shipping.
hoodies: 5ive etc $28-40 free shipping
handbags: Ed hardy etc $35-68 free shipping
Sunglasses: LV etc $17 free shipping
Belts: BOSS etc $15 free shipping
Caps: red bull etc $12-15 free shipping
Watches:rolex etc $80 free shipping
http://www.brand-bar.com


That's nothing
By AssBall on 12/24/2009 11:57:28 AM , Rating: 2
I keep a hydroelectric generator attached to my wang so I get free electricity every time I pee.




RE: That's nothing
By Chudilo on 12/24/2009 12:05:18 PM , Rating: 5
I don't think you or your wang would appreciate a jolt of electricity every time you pee.


RE: That's nothing
By brundall on 12/24/2009 12:08:24 PM , Rating: 5
I think he is referring to the new hydro electric generator I developed that activates every time you flush the toilet. It is still in its testing phase with only the log jam problem to overcome before RTM.


RE: That's nothing
By themaster08 on 12/25/2009 4:35:49 AM , Rating: 3
Those Christmas logs will give it some thorough testing!


Red or Blue Pill
By rippleyaliens on 12/24/2009 11:07:06 AM , Rating: 5
I think i shall take the Red Pill..




RE: Red or Blue Pill
By Davelo on 12/24/2009 3:05:50 PM , Rating: 2
Yep. As prophesied in the Matrix.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IojqOMWTgv8


By JCustom on 12/24/2009 1:19:34 PM , Rating: 5
This would be great for people who have medically implanted devices. People with pacemakers have to go in to replace the batteries every few years so this would be great for that purpose.




fixes
By bobsmith1492 on 12/24/2009 1:56:59 PM , Rating: 5
I'm going to be nit-picky about some biological, physical, and thermodynamic concepts alluded to in this article.

1. "iPods and cell phones that never lose charge." Let's try, "ipods and cell phones that never need to be recharged." Charge is not simply lost, and saying a device has a charge is not what was intended here (that implies more a static charge as opposed to a charged battery).

2. "homeostasis, the process used to maintain a constant body temperature" Homeostasis refers to many processes in the body besides temperature. Temperature regulation is simply one process involved in homeostasis.

3. "human body heat energy generation isn't very efficient" Generation of excess heat demonstrates inefficiency. Heat beyond that required for homeostasis is not desirable, so the fact that it is not produced indicates efficiency. The body would simply be wasting energy if it were to generate extreme amounts of heat.

4. "army of robots needs to be very ultra-low voltage" The term you're looking for is power, not voltage. A device may operate at a low voltage yet consume large amounts of power - like an Intel i7, for example.

That is all.




So are any of these better than...
By PrinceGaz on 12/24/2009 7:39:57 PM , Rating: 3
...walking around with a AA NiMH cell in you pocket, in terms of how much energy they can provide over a typical day.

As much as body worn gadgets that generate electrical energy are quite neat, to be practical they have to be more efficient than existing alternatives. I haven't bothered looking up the data because I strongly suspect a single AA NiMH cell can provide far more electrical energy from a single charge than all those worn items of clothing together could over a full day of typical use, or possibly several days of use.

Watches which power themselves from wrist movement... good idea as it is a compact self-contained generator. Clothing or accessories you have to wear to power connected devices, when a spare battery in your pocket would be much better... not so good.




A thought ...
By William Gaatjes on 12/25/2009 9:39:18 AM , Rating: 3
The human body uses it's "waste" heat to keep the temperature optimal for optimal function of the cells.
Only when excess heat is produced we start to use forced cooling by means of heavy breathing and sweating and transporting more blood through the layer of fine veins near the surface of our skin. Because of sweating/transpiration our skin cools down drawing heat away from the heated blood flowing through the veins. When it is cold your body reduces the flow of blood through these veins to preserve heat energy. When that is not enough your body will shiver by use of high speed muscle contractions to create excessive heat to heat up your body. Your blood has many functions. It is used not only to provide nutrients to cells but to deliver cells as well and as a means to control temperature of your body like for example cooling water in a car engine and as a central heating system in a house.

Now assuming this device works best with a large temperature difference, you are cooling down a part of your skin that already has reduced flow of blood because of the low environment temperature. It is possible that your body will adjust to it, i do not know.





Terminator references...
By roostitup on 12/27/2009 1:05:00 PM , Rating: 1
...really make this blog low quality. Very cheesy and not well done. At least TRY to be professional! No professional journalist would ever reference Terminator like that, it just shows where you are in the world of journalism.




RE: Terminator references...
By roostitup on 12/27/2009 1:06:26 PM , Rating: 2
Or Matrix references...you get the point...


Matrix reborn
By Rengimme on 12/24/2009 1:03:31 PM , Rating: 2
This ideas are great.Albeit not very effective yet but i tihnk there is alot of potential in ideas like this. I have been waiting for someone to invent somethin to untilize the power in the human body and now they have :)




Only a man and a woman!
By foolsgambit11 on 12/24/2009 3:32:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Who knew homeostasis and electronics could wed so beautifully?
Bah! I'm not sure what this article has to do with homeostatsises getting married - why'd you have to throw that political monster in there? </sarcasm> Although the electronics getting married meshes well with the article from a couple weeks ago about the Japanese man marrying a video game character....




Finally
By JFL1969 on 12/26/2009 10:45:29 AM , Rating: 2
Sweet, can't wait to get plugged into the matrix and meet the blond in the red dress...




Sigh...
By amanojaku on 12/24/09, Rating: -1
RE: Sigh...
By taisingera on 12/24/2009 12:21:56 PM , Rating: 2
They think the headband is stylish? That is the worst piece shown here. Taking a bit of energy from the body is great, but what can it really power? I don't like the sound of the machines in the blood though. They say we use 10% of our brain, too bad they can't take that energy and use it somehow.


RE: Sigh...
By Rengimme on 12/24/2009 1:09:49 PM , Rating: 2
If everyone thought like you, they never would have made the car or the light bulb or computer for that matter. Pull your head out of your ass and educate yourself stead of leavin nonsense comments that are both ignorant and narrowminded


RE: Sigh...
By Flail on 12/24/2009 1:59:43 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
They say we use 10% of our brain, too bad they can't take that energy and use it somehow.


http://www.snopes.com/science/stats/10percent.asp


RE: Sigh...
By Motoman on 12/24/2009 12:35:29 PM , Rating: 5
...do you *honestly* need every sarcastic comment ever written to be tagged with "[/sarcasm]?"

Have you ever read a book? As opposed to a blog or website? And if so, are you completely incapable of identifying sarcasm in a book as well?


RE: Sigh...
By amanojaku on 12/24/2009 12:57:16 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, because I didn't detect any sarcasm in his statements.
quote:
dress shirt that looked pretty stylish and kept a monitor on your vitals to boot
Where's the sarcasm in that? Two statements in one sentence, one true and the other implied to be true because of the use of "to boot", meaning "in addition to".
quote:
For those who aren't digging the headband, the researchers showed off a little bling -- a gold watch that serves as both a heat harvester and a stylish timepiece.
He just said the headband is ugly, but implies the watch is not.

And I happen to be a fan of both books and sarcasm. If you're comparing the writing on DT to that of a well written book I have to wonder what books YOU read.


RE: Sigh...
By Motoman on 12/24/2009 2:03:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yes, because I didn't detect any sarcasm in his statements.


The failure is yours, not the author's. Period.


RE: Sigh...
By cruisin3style on 12/24/2009 2:32:59 PM , Rating: 1
He was not comparing this fine website's articles (notice I didn't say "this website's finely written articles.. /sarcasm") to a well written book.

Still, let's give the guy a break. Everyone misses things now and then, I know I do when I'm tired. Like the other day I was dealing with this asshat on ebay and he messaged me AFTER he had won the auction wanting to meet up in person instead of me shipping the item. After prolonged discussions in which he threw a fit when things didn't go his way, I offered to charge him at-cost shipping instead of the set $20.00 fee but I eventually agreed to meet up, and he was trying to bring a check so I said fuckall to that. This was a very frustrating person to deal with, accusing me of wanting to keep my anonymity (It's the fucking INTERNET) and whatever else, and eventually he changed his mind back to me shipping it to him after he knew i wouldnt be taking his check.

In the end after all his wanting to be personal and know my real name and personal email address (which I didn't give and gave an unused one not tied to anything important, respectively), I sent him the most impersonal message possible saying I looked forward to completing the transaction amicably and that the total was the subtotal plus a shipping fee of $20.00. I received payment yet thankfully haven't heard back from him. So I ended up getting the full 20 (and wish I could have seen his douche face when he looked at the shipping fee he could have saved on if he didn't have a broom or at least a paper cut out radar dish up his ass), but I realized later that I needed to get more sleep lately because I would have realized I could have just said I didn't fucking live there anymore.


"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki