In the field of wearables, we can currently consider smartwatches, sports bands and other devices that share the same basic concept as undisputed leaders.
Beyond being a modern digital watch, these devices also provide health data obtained through their monitoring systems. The interrupted use of these devices makes it difficult to generate accurate reports, but a team of researchers came up with a solution.
Charge a smart watch or band while wearing it
To achieve this purpose, Sunghoon Ivan Lee, assistant professor in the College of Information and Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, began his research together with Jeremy Gummeson, a portable computer engineer, from the basis that human skin can drive energy and that at the same time, certain commonly used electronic devices radiate a small amount of electricity, which is spread in a controlled and harmless way for the body and can be used in this case.
To begin to realize a solution, Lee and Gummeson decided to focus on the electricity that can be captured while in contact with the steering wheel of a vehicle or keyboards of laptops or desktops.
To carry out the trial, a prototype of this technology was tested with 10 users in different contexts, who wore a device with an electrode that, when in contact with the skin, can capture energy within a limited range.
The results showed that through this system, 0.5 to 1 mW of direct current power can be transferred through the skin. This amount of electricity is small and complies with the safety regulations established by bodies such as the FCC or the ICNIRP.
This system, called ShaZam, is in an early stage of development. The energy it produces is still not enough to charge demanding devices such as an Apple Watch. However, other devices with lower energy consumption, such as the Fitbit Flex or Xiaomi Mi Band, could benefit from this technology. Projecting itself under this aspect, its creators point out that they bet more on the efficiency of energy consumption than on its power.
This innovative proposal would allow the health monitoring mechanisms offered by these smart bands and watches to be followed with greater constancy. For example, sleep quality monitors often lose their reporting accuracy as devices are removed from the body for overnight charging.
According informs On the University of Massachusetts Amherst website, the research team received a grant of $ 598,720 from the National Science Foundation to continue developing the hardware and software for the proposed system. The technical bases of this development are set out in a paper recently published.