Finger wrap could one day let you power up wearables while you sleep

A new wearable device turns the touch of a finger into a source of power for small electronics and sensors. (video link)

Wearables are so hot right now, with consumers scooping up more than 100 million units of smartwatches, fitness trackers, augmented reality glasses, and similar tech in the first quarter of 2021 alone. Sales in the category increased 34.4 percent in the second quarter from Q2 2020, making it one of the fastest-growing categories of personal electronics.

That rise comes with an increased demand for practical and efficient energy harvesters capable of continuously powering those wearables. Now, a team of engineers at the University of California San Diego has designed a new type of biofuel cell that harnesses energy from the sweat of your fingertips, according to a recent paper published in the journal Joule. The cell can also be integrated with piezoelectric generators to harvest energy from the pressing of the fingertip. The breakthrough could one day make it possible to power up your wearables as you type or sleep.

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