While Apple is rumoured to be creating a solar powered iWatch, it a researcher has come up with a version that charges the battery from body heat. A team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have come up with a light and flexible thermoelectric generator that can produce electricity just from the heat of the human body. It means that you would never have to recharge your smartwatch or worry about it being covered by your sleeve and running out of juice.
KAIST developed a glass fabric-based thermoelectric generator that can be worn like a watch and it can produce electricity just from the heat output of your body. The generator is flexible enough to be bent around your arm, and that won’t affect the performance of the wearable generator at all – in fact, it still outputs the same amount of electricity for up to 120 cycles no matter how much it’s bent. This is an issue because smart watches are being targeted for the exercise market where motion and flexibly are important.
Normally body-heat absorbing generators are large and bulky, which makes them impractical for use in something like a smart watch. In this case, the technology uses a glass fabric that also reduces heat loss and makes full use of the output. It could be a few years before the tech is seen in any smart watches though, but it is certainly a step up from Apple’s solar powered watch idea which would never work in Scotland.