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Your Sweat Could Power Your Electronics

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Sweat is often an annoyance, or even an embarrassment. We spend tons on antiperspirants, fans, air conditioners, ice cream, and anything else that will keep our body temperatures down to keep sweating at bay. With a new wearable innovation that turns sweat into energy, that all might change (well, except for the ice cream).

Engineers have developed a soft, stretchable biofuel cell that can harvest energy from human sweat. The cell has the highest power density recorded for such a device.

The Future Will Be Wearable

From tattoos that can monitor health conditions to golf shirts that measure their wearer's swings, wearable technology is one of the fastest-growing tech advancements of the 21st century.

Recently, researchers at University of California, San Diego unveiled their own latest wearable: A flexible square patch that can be applied to the skin, where enzymes in the device could feed on human sweat to produce power.

Although it measured just a few centimeters in size, a single square, or biofuel cell, was able to generate enough power to run a radio for an entire two days. Later versions proved capable of generating up to ten times more energy as their predecessors, meaning that in the future, if you forget to charge your smartphone before a hard workout, no worries! Just plant your biocell on your skin, and your sweat might make enough juice to let you to stream your gym playlists during an hour of cardio, and for days to come.

A Sweat-Powered Radio is Cool, but That's Just the Start

Biofuel cells have come a long way over the years. While the possibility of sweat-powered radios and other electronics is pretty fantastic, scientists have much bolder applications for the technology in store for the future. Those cells could be used as health monitors, checking glucose levels in diabetic patients or to measuring the lactic acid produced in muscles during exercise. The power generated could fuel a Bluetooth connection that could deliver the information right to a smartphone so that wearers could get real-time reports on their physical health.

The future of wearable biocells has plenty of advantages, but one of the best is that they are non-invasive. This means faster application and less pain. Eventually, they'll become less expensive, making them a great alternative to devices like conventional blood glucose monitors that require patients to prick their fingers multiple times per day, or permanent surgical implants like pacemakers. With the University of California team's take on wearables, future medical monitors may be self-powering, too.

Why Technology Isn't Wearable

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Going Beyond Medical: Applications for Wearable Tech

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