JUL 20, 2021 6:00 AM PDT

Wearable Health Monitors Powered by Sweaty Fingertips

WRITTEN BY: Tara Fernandes

Fingertips have thousands of sweat-producing glands, churning out anywhere from 100 to 1,000 times more sweat than other parts of the body. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, have developed a way of harnessing this perspiration as an energy source to power wearable medical sensors. This innovation is a leap towards a future of practical, convenient, and accessible health monitoring technologies, empowering individuals to take control of their health and wellbeing effortlessly.

Researcher Lu Yin led a team of researchers that designed tiny biofuel cells capable of utilizing lactate—a chemical byproduct of cells generating energy in the absence of oxygen. An enzyme on the device breaks down lactate, creating a small electrical charge of around 20 to 40 microwatts. While these tiny amounts of harvested energy would not be sufficient to, say, charge your phone, they will be able to power small, wearable diagnostic technologies such as heart rate and glucose monitors. In addition, the innovation features small chips made of piezoelectric materials, which enables the generation of energy when the wearer presses on it.

The technology for converting sweat into electricity has been around for some time. However, previous iterations rely on more significant amounts of sweat to work. Yin and colleagues focused on the fingertips for this reason—they produce small but constant amounts of sweat that can be used as a power source even without having to endure an intense workout. According to the authors, this breakthrough demonstrates record-breaking energy return on investment compared to existing lactate biofuel cells.

 

Source: Joule.


 

About the Author
You May Also Like
OCT 18, 2022
Cardiology
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Requires Community Change
OCT 18, 2022
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Requires Community Change
Preventing the rise of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease may require more than just medicine.
OCT 18, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
New Mitochondrial Disease Identified in Identical Twins
OCT 18, 2022
New Mitochondrial Disease Identified in Identical Twins
A new mitochondrial disease has been identified after a pair of identical twins were showing an unusual symptom. Despite ...
OCT 25, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
Certain Air Pollutants Linked to Worse Outcomes in Interstitial Lung Disease
OCT 25, 2022
Certain Air Pollutants Linked to Worse Outcomes in Interstitial Lung Disease
Fibrotic interstitial lung disease (fILD) is a frustratingly difficult disease to characterize. For one, fiLD is difficu ...
NOV 10, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
Rare Genetic Disorder Successfully Treated for the First Time After a Groundbreaking In Utero Treatment
NOV 10, 2022
Rare Genetic Disorder Successfully Treated for the First Time After a Groundbreaking In Utero Treatment
Infantile-onset Pompe disease is a rare genetic disorder. Those with infantile-onset Pompe disease begin showing symptom ...
NOV 12, 2022
Coronavirus
Risk of Organ Failure & Death Rises with Repeated COVID-19 Infections
NOV 12, 2022
Risk of Organ Failure & Death Rises with Repeated COVID-19 Infections
After only a few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists and clinicians knew that the virus could cause myriad healt ...
NOV 19, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
New Research Shows How Bacteria Could Help Tumors Progress and Resist Treatment
NOV 19, 2022
New Research Shows How Bacteria Could Help Tumors Progress and Resist Treatment
New research from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle postulates that certain bacteria significantly impact the ...
Loading Comments...