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Body Heat Power  (Source: Image via Fraunhofer)
Future electronic devices could be powered by body heat alone

For mobile professionals, poor battery life from a device is the ultimate enemy to staying connected on the go. Everyone wants longer battery life from phones, laptops and cameras.

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen have teamed up with scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM and the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Applied Materials Research IFAM to devise a way to power electronic circuits by using body heat.

The researchers were able to construct a method of turning body heat into electricity using the same principal as thermoelectric generators (TEG) made from semi-conductor elements. TEGs extract electricity from the temperature difference between a hot and cold environment.

Researchers from Fraunhofer say that typically a temperature difference of several tens of degrees is needed, but that the temperature difference between the body and the environment is only a few degrees.

That means that with such a small temperature difference, the amount of electricity generated is very low voltage. The TEG can deliver 200 millivolts when most electronics require one or two volts to operate.

“We combined a number of components in a completely new way to create circuits that can operate on 200 millivolts,” says Peter Spies, manager of this sub-project at the IIS. “This has enabled us to build entire electronic systems that do not require an internal battery, but draw their energy from body heat alone.”

With all the current recalls on batteries from Nokia and the huge recall last year of Sony made notebook batteries, alternative methods of powering electronic devices are a huge area of research. Whether this body heat power technology works or not, it is only a matter of time before consumers can stop depending on batteries and move to fuel cells and other methods of getting power for electronic devices.

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RE: The Matrix has you
By Scorpion on 8/21/2007 6:57:55 PM , Rating: 3
Ok that's what I was trying to get at. I was waiting for the response. If the point was really on the efficiency of the conversion. The energy input required to "farm" the humans and even to produce the "food energy" required to keep them living would probably be much greater than the output. But it's a Sci-Fi movie and they can simply say that the machines have discovered more efficient ways of harnessing that power. :)

As other methods of deriving energy then yes you could argue that their resources would be better used converting energy that required less input and yeilded more output. Without sun you're really limited in energy sources and chemical energy is the most viable.

If the machines didn't need us for energy then it wouldn't have made for much of a movie about enslaved humans. :) It is just a movie after all.

RE: The Matrix has you
By LogicallyGenius on 8/23/2007 4:18:25 AM , Rating: 2
I cant wait for chairs that generate electric currents as we seat on them. COOL it.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
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