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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 otispunkmeyer on 8/22/2007 6:56:15 AM , Rating: 3
its a sci-fi movie it doesnt have to make any sense or follow any scientific rules or anything like that....thats what makes the movies science fictional. it'd be boring as if all the rule of physics were obeyed.

he couldnt learn how to do ju jitsu in 10 seconds or fly or move faster than a bullet.

its like people who go see transformers then come out saying "bay is an idiot, how believable are big giant robots! what was he thinking! so unrealistic.... "

RE: The Matrix has you
By glitchc on 8/23/2007 5:45:34 PM , Rating: 2
What makes a good sci-fi movie is not the depart from reality, but the consistency with which that depart is conducted.

Some rules cannot be broken however. For instance, if a basic rule such as causality is violated without any explanation, the audience quickly stops being entertained by the movie.

Neo may have been able to unrealistically learn jujitsu in 10 seconds, but the movie provides a clear explanation of "plausible" technology in a "plausible" future, which, carefully note, maintains causality. If he, instead, was able to perform jujitsu without any prior source of knowledge, people would instantly lose interest.

"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs
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