Does the world need another fitness band? Fitness bands, smartwatches, and wristband biometric monitoring devices deliver their greatest value when worn regularly. In the real world, unfortunately, when the wearer removes a device every day or so to recharge the battery, it’s easy to forget to put it back on. Gradually, many users simply choose to ignore the wearable because it is too much bother.

At CES 2020 this week, Tokyo-based Medirom and California’s Matrix Industries announced a partnership to produce MOTHER. MOTHER is a lifestyle-related health monitoring smartband that never needs to be recharged. Working in conjunction with physicians, Medirom developed Lav, an on-demand health-monitoring app for MOTHER and a platform with an open software development kit (SDK) for other healthcare providers. Matrix provides the enabling technology that will make recharging MOTHER unnecessary.

Matrix’s thermoelectric engine generates operating power for the MOTHER wristband from the wearer’s body heat and ambient light. Matrix originally developed the technology for its PowerWatch line of smartwatches, but now that same thermoelectric engine keeps MOTHER running. The engine consists of two primary components, Matrix Gemini thermoelectric material that is 30% more efficient than conventional materials. The Matrix Mercury boost converter amplifies the electricity produced by the Gemini engine with 2.5 times greater efficiency than most boost converters. According to Matrix, one key to the energy efficiency is an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) that has lower voltage input and higher energy-harvesting output voltage than similar converters.

MOTHER is a work in progress that Medirom and Matrix will source to third-party healthcare service providers who seek to develop a wearable that users will never need to take off.