If wearable Health Tech devices are to be successful, they are going to have to disappear into our lives. If they require that we plug them in (or place them on a charging station) every night or week or month, it will give people one more reason to not use them. This is why energy harvesting is so important; by scavenging energy from motion, light, heat, or radio waves, these devices can work independently without the need for user intervention.
That’s why this week’s press release from Tekcapital is so significant. The company works with more than 4,000 research institutions around the world, licensing the new technologies developed at universities and marketing them to manufacturers. The group just announced two agreements about energy harvesting technology. The first is with the University of Michigan for a piezoelectric electro-mechanical device that generates electricity from vibrations. Originally designed to power an implanted pacemaker, the device could also be incorporated in clothing, footwear, and wearable products.
The other licensing agreement is with the Georgia Tech Research Corporation, and covers a new electrical circuit that takes the irregular current from energy harvesting devices (with is often alternative current) and conditions it as direct current that can be used to recharge batteries and drive wearable devices. This new approach is far more efficient than traditional designs based on rectifiers, and can result in four times the power output.
With advances like these, we may soon have wearable Health Tech devices that will indeed disappear into our lives.