Engineers at the University of California San Diego recently developed a new type of biofuel that harnesses energy from the sweat of people’s fingertips and could one day be used to power electronic wearables while they sleep or type.
The new UCSD biofuel cell is a thin, flexible strip easily wrapped around the fingertip like a Band-Aid.
The UCSD team also discovered that the biofuel cell could produce 400 millijoules of energy per square centimetre, and if the rest of the fingers were fitted with strips, it could potentially produce ten times more energy.
While there is an electrode cushion made of carbon that absorbs all sweat, enzymes in the electrodes trigger chemical reactions between the lactate and oxygen molecules in the sweat to generate electricity.
Although electricity is already generated, researchers then add a piezoelectric chip so that more energy can be generated by pressing the fingertips against an object.
The discovery was published in the journal Joule.
For more information, read the original story in Arstechnica.