Image Courtesy: Gadgets Now

Researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have created a technique that allows a single item, such as a mobile phone in a user’s pocket, to wirelessly charge additional wearable gadgets on the user’s body by using the human body as a medium for power transfer.

The unique technology enables a single fully charged power source to run up to ten wearable gadgets on the body for more than ten hours. It may also utilise unused energy from gadgets in a normal house or office to power the wearables. The results have been published in the journal Nature Electronics.

“Batteries are among the most costly components of wearable gadgets, and they add heft to the design. “Our innovative approach has the potential to eliminate the need for batteries, allowing manufacturers to miniaturise the gadgets while dramatically lowering production costs,” said Jerald Yoo, Associate Professor from the NUS Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

“More excitingly, without the limits of batteries, our development can allow next-generation wearable applications like ECG patches, gaming accessories, and remote diagnostics,” Yoo added.

The NUS team created a receiver and transmitter device that makes use of the human body as a medium for power transmission and energy collection. Each receiver and transmitter include a chip that acts as a springboard to expand coverage throughout the body.

Further, the transmitter just has to be put on a single power source, such as a smartwatch on a user’s wrist, while many receivers can be positioned anywhere on the person’s body. The system then uses the energy from the source to power several wearables on the user’s body via a technique known as body-coupled power transfer. In this manner, the user will only need to charge one item, and the rest of the devices that are worn may be fueled up from that one source at the same time.


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