Thermo Life generator

Thermo Life generator

The devices produce electricity when a temperature difference exists between two ends of a circuit made from two types of metal. The company has packed 5,074 thermocouples (electricity-producing circuits) into the generator, and the device provides a relatively high voltage from a smaller temperature difference: At a difference of 5 degrees Celsius, the generator produces 3.1 volts at 36 microamps, yielding 110 microwatts of electrical power.

Thermoelectric generators are particularly useful for powering wearable devices because people aren't always in the light and don't always move, but as long as they're alive they generate body heat. The temperature difference between the skin and the surrounding air is about 15 degrees Kelvin, said Stark. Even within the body there is a useable temperature difference between the core and the surface, he said.

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14 Responses:

  1. korgmeister says:

    So does this mean Canadians will be able to have more powerful wearable devices?

  2. boggyb says:

    Ok, you either have a psychic music player, or you search for a track to match each entry.

    • carbonunit says:

      It's the former ackshully. WinAmp ships with the Psychic Blog Topic Selecto Widget switched on by default.

    • billemon says:

      Oddly, or not so oddly, I was about to make this exact same comment to an earier post in Jamie's blog.

      Kudos to the developers of the Physic Blogmatch Plugin.

  3. egon010 says:

    The electrode goes. in. here.

  4. pedxing says:

    If you put a heatsink on the cool side, it would theoretically do better.
    picture a bunch of joggers with cooling fins on their heads, powering their ipods.

  5. jabber says:

    Awesome! Now if only they could make these in the shape of a goo-filled pod into which people could be inserted as infants, we could power a virtual reality world.

    • baconmonkey says:

      Even within the body there is a useable temperature difference between the core and the surface, he said.

      no, I think it will be the pod being inserted into the people, not the other way around. And if the Japanese do it first, it will yeild the ultimate JWZ post, and then, having reached his peak, he'll get tired of LJ.

  6. hetechne says:

    people aren't always in the light and don't always move, but as long as they're alive they generate body heat. The temperature difference between the skin and the surrounding air is about 15 degrees Kelvin

    That's bullshit. Your skin temperature's fairly constant, excluding extremities, so there's no reliable temperature difference: when it's 30C outside, your skin will be pretty much the same temperature.

    Much more likely for someone to be exposed to uniformly hot temperatures for days at a time than for them not to move their arms, or for them to avoid light for that time period.

    It might have its uses, but it's not at all the ultra-reliable power source that just needs a small capacitor that's portrayed here.

  7. greatbiggary says:

    I like knowing that wearable computing of the future won't accidentally aid cold zombies, except for if it puts an eyepiece HUD over the world, and some dumbass exciteable dude is like "Whoa, guys, you should see what's on my VidScreen. It's like, totally trippin' me out... uh... guys?" But no one is there when he removes the goggles, except the zombie that eats him.

  8. And to think; you'd only need to cover your entire body in the things and shiver a lot to power your cell phone. Or you could just use a battery.

    • moof says:

      There are microcontrollers out there that operate at ~170µa, meaning you'd need... five of those things. About the size of a penny. Horrors.