Sweaty Fingers Can Produce Energy With Wearable Medical Sensors

The body is a powerful source of energy for modern technology wearable devices. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a thin band-aid-like energy harvester that could fuel our gadgets of the future. Although other prototype wearables of this type have been seen before, including some made by the team at UC San Diego, this one is unique.

Lactate is dissolved in sweat, and by using the device, it can be broken down. In addition, thin pads attached to the fingertips are filled with biofuel cells. Sweat is absorbed into a thin layer of foam, which is then oxidized by an enzyme to create an electrical charge. Piezoelectric material is used in the strip to generate energy when pressure is applied. Energy is also produced by typewriters, exercising, driving a car, and opening the refrigerator. The team tested its strips on a subject during the testing phase, and the results showed that 400 millijoules of energy were generated. An electronic watch can run on this amount of power for 24 hours. Team members tested the amount of energy generated by casual typing with a keyboard and clicking with a mouse. They found that 30 millijoules could be generated.

As of now, the enzyme responsible for the reaction begins to degrade after two weeks, rendering it ineffective. The development of permanent sensors requires further research into stable enzymes.


Sparkes, Matthew. “Finger sweat can power wearable medical sensors 24 hours a day." NewScientist, https://www.newscientist.com/article/2283777-finger-sweat-can-power-wearable-medical-sensors-24-hours-a-day/. Accessed 16 September 2021.

Sood, Gaurav. “THIS BAND-AID-INSPIRED WEARABLE FINGER STRIP GENERATES ENERGY FROM YOUR SWEAT, EVEN WHEN YOU’RE ASLEEP!" Yanko Design, https://www.yankodesign.com/2021/07/18/this-band-aid-inspired-wearable-finger-strip-generates-

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