First impressions can be deceiving. At first glance, this article may appear better suited for our sister site Wearable Tech Insider, which covers fitness and exercise wearables. We’re writing about the Matrix PowerWatch, however, because of its thermoelectric power technology. Energy from body heat is captured and stored to power the watch and its sensors, which means that the watch never needs replacement batteries.
Despite the PowerWatch’s attractive appearance and its basic activity monitoring features, the key to its appeal is thermoelectric power technology. It converts a difference in temperature into electricity. The Matrix device runs off body heat and the watch face displays both the power you’re currently generating and the power remaining. Like steps, calories, and sleep time, the PowerWatch also transmits your personal electric power production to the smartphone app so you can track it. As you shift from walking to running, you will generate more heat and can see the power level increase. When you take the watch off it stores the data and goes into sleep mode, drawing a small amount of power from an onboard permanent battery. When you put the watch back on your wrist, it automatically turns on and displays the current time, adjusting to the local time zone if necessary.
The PowerWatch measures activity level in steps, tracks calories burned, and monitors sleep. It has user changeable watch faces and pressing a button switches the watch to timer or stopwatch functions. The PowerWatch syncs wirelessly with iOS and Android apps to store and report activity, calories, and sleep. The PowerWatch was in an Indiegogo campaign to fund production tooling when we wrote about it. Its success on the crowdfunding platform was impressive. At the time of this article, it had raised 434 percent of its $100,000 flexible goal, $434,749 from 2,901 backers, with a month left in the campaign. Because the PowerWatch’s aircraft-quality aluminum case never has to be opened to replace the battery, it is water resistant to 50 meters. According to Matrix the water resistance is sufficient for swimming.
One of the barriers to wearable Health Tech adoption is the constant need to recharge devices. If the PowerWatch’s energy harvesting technology is successful, it could go a long way toward helping wearable devices “disappear” into our daily lives.