Can you save electricity money by generating enough current using your body to charge your portable devices?
Let’s explore some recent advancement in the field of wearable battery chargers — chargers that are attached to the body to harness different forms of energy such as kinetic, wind, and even that from sweat.
Charging Through Body Movements
SolePower Kit. (A) Insole that converts your steps into electrical energy. (B) PowerPac where the electrical energy
is stored. Image courtesy of solepowertech.com.
Another popular wearable battery charger that has made it to the mainstream market is called AMPY. AMPY offers more flexibility in that you can use it in any activity and, unlike SolePower, doesn’t require shoes to work. The device is strapped to any part of the body and can be charged using any type of motion. It also comes with a free mobile app that you can download to monitor the calories you burn and the power you generate. AMPY claims that an hour of exercise can sustain mobile phones for 1 hour of standard use and 5 hours of standby time. It is now available for purchase at $99 for charger only and $129 for the charger plus accessories.
A closer look at AMPY. Image courtesy of getampy.com
Charging Through Breathing
Have you thought of charging your phone by breathing? This might sound too insane but not to Joco Paulo Lammoglia, an industrial engineer from Brazil, who designed AIRE mask. AIRE mask harnesses the energy from breathing and converts it to electrical energy to charge batteries. Imagine tiny windmills inside this wearable device strapped to your head across your nose and mouth! Lammoglia said the device could be used in all situations from running to sleeping and therefore its energy is available 24/7. But, don’t get too excited as this is still in the design phase and currently has no technology yet for production. There are several prototypes but none that we know of that is available for public purchase.
Image courtesy of joaolammoglia.com
Charging Through Body Sweat
If charging your phone battery by breathing sounds insane, how about by body sweat? Yes, that’s right — body sweat! The technology is called biobattery, a small temporary tattoo that converts energy from body sweat to electricity. According to its research team led by Dr. Joseph Wang, the tattoo was originally intended to easily track lactate levels in the body. However, based on further experiments, they found out that the tattoo could actually harness energy if a battery is attached to it. The energy produced though is small and only up to a few dozen microWatts but Wang’s team is currently working on boosting this to power small devices such as a watch and eventually mobile phones. When this time comes, we could rightfully say that charging a mobile phone is no sweat!
The technology of wearable battery chargers in general is cool and pretty promising but as of this writing, it is still in its infancy stage. A few like AMPY and SolePower may have reached the production state but these are quite costly compared to the average power bank price ($30). We believe though that when this technology booms, it will revolutionize battery charging.
As for saving money, you’ll save a couple of cents on your electrical bills, but end up spending way more on the gadgets themselves. So, the answer to our initial question is probably “no”.