E-skin fueled by human sweat

The skin is the biggest organ in the human body and it can sense temperature, pressure, pain and can tell a lot about others body-parameters. In this scenario, scientists developed an electronic skin capable of collecting data about the health of a person and tracking what is happening with your body. The E-skin is made of a soft and flexible rubber with a grid of sensors that can measure cardiac frequency, body temperature, sugar levels and metabolics products that indicate health and stress levels, for an example.

Pele eletrônica com bluetooth é alimentada pelo suor

While the scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) were developing an e-skin, they innovated discovering one which is fueled by human sweat. When we perspire, a chemical component is released as a byproduct of the lactic acid, the lactate. This compound reacts with a field of enzymes placed in the wearable artificial skin and oxygen. The enzyme breaks down the lactate, generating electricity as biofuel, which is transported by carbon nanotubes. 

The researchers say it’s the world’s first e-skin that can run without an external power source and this energy not only powers the e-skin’s sensors but can also enable Bluetooth low energy (BLE) communications between the e-skin and a remote monitoring station.   

The device is still is on trial version and it has some challenges to be really practical. For an example, the enzyme used is sensitive to light and decays easily while the lactate thins out along the time, which means that the power generation is declining. The expectations for this technology is that someday it will be able to recharge a battery or devices as watches and smartphones.

Can you believe recharging your phone using your own body?

By: Giovanni Tomasco