Sweat could power new gad­gets

The Scotsman - - NEWS DIGEST - By LUCINDA CAMERON

A new gen­er­a­tion of wear­able de­vices could be pow­ered by hu­man sweat in­stead of con­ven­tional bat­ter­ies, sci­en­tists have said.

En­gi­neers at the Univer­sity of Glas­gow have de­vel­oped a new type of flex­i­ble su­per­ca­pac­i­tor, which stores en­ergy, re­plac­ing the elec­trolytes found in con­ven­tional bat­ter­ies with sweat. It can be fully charged with as lit­tle as 20 mi­crolitres of fluid and is ro­bust enough to sur­vive 4,000 cy­cles of the types of flexes and bends it might en­counter in use. The re­searchers tested their tech­nol­ogy by hav­ing vol­un­teers run while wear­ing a 2cm by 2cm cell ver­sion of the de­vice.

The re­search was led by Pro­fes­sor Ravin­der Dahiya, based at the Univer­sity of Glas­gow’s

James Watt School of En­gi­neer­ing.

He said: “Con­ven­tional bat­ter­ies are cheaper and more plen­ti­ful than ever be­fore but they are of­ten built us­ing un­sus­tain­able ma­te­ri­als which are harm­ful to the en­vi­ron­ment. What we’ve been able to do for the first time is show that hu­man sweat pro­vides a real op­por­tu­nity to do away with those toxic ma­te­ri­als en­tirely.”

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