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Wearable Electronics May Soon Be Powered by Sweat

Researches in Tokyo have developed a wearable biofuel cell array that generates electricity from sweat.

The wearable electronic and biosensor is growing rapidly, but these devices are severely hindered by short battery lives. A recent Interesting Engineering article discussed a new development that could revolutionize the way we power our wearable devices. A team of researchers at Tokyo University of Science developed and tested a biofuel cell array that generates electricity from lactate in human sweat.

The biofuel cell array is made from a water-repellent paper substrate, and is worn on the arm or forearm like a bandage.  The paper layers collect sweat, and transport it to the cells via the capillary effect. The cells contain enzymes in the electrodes that produce an electric current when they react with lactate. In experiments, the biofuel cells generated a voltage of 3.66 V and an output power of 4.3 mW, which is “significantly higher” than previous lactate biofuel cells.

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