Healthcare Technology Featured Article

July 16, 2012

Technology Makes You Sweat to Keep Devices Powered During Workouts



For most of the U.S. population, getting in some type of physical activity or workout has become an everyday necessity. As obesity rates climb, and as desk jobs threaten to make us physically ill, there is no getting around the need to get our bodies moving.

Thanks to modern technology, working out has become less of a chore and more of an enjoyable time used to listen to music, catch up on news, listen to audio recorded books or even monitor health and fitness accomplishments using Apps and mobile devices.

For the everyday user looking for some extra motivation while on the treadmill, mobile devices serve a great purpose. But beyond even apps and music, mobile technologies are being used to monitor physiological data about patients who are in need of regular medical monitoring.

In either scenario, the downfall comes when those devices must be recharged, or worse: shut down due to battery drain. To help combat this and improve the future of health technologies, energy harvesting technologies in small, wearable form factors are being developed.

What does this mean for weight loss and fitness? No more being lazy and turning the speed down lower because you can’t stand the burn. Instead of listening to music to sweat like we once did, we’re looking at a future where we’ll need to sweat if we want to listen to music while we work out.

Perpetua Power Source Technology is one company already developing solutions that will convert one’s body heat into electrical energy and therefore keep a device powered.  

At the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show, the company demonstrated a concept wireless armband device that utilized body-heat to wirelessly send physiological data to a nearby laptop base station. The technology used a special Flexible Thermoelectric Film developed by Perpetua along with MSP430 microcontrollers (MCU) and wireless connectivity from Texas Instruments in the armband to collect and transmit the data.

 “We’re all impacted by limited battery life in our everyday lives, whether if it’s just the inconvenience of a dead watch battery or something more meaningful, such as a health monitoring device that can no longer provide critical information because a patient cannot physically change a battery themselves,” said Dr. Ingo Stark, Perpetua’s chief scientist.

“Breakthroughs in wearable thermoelectric technology and ultra low-power semiconductor innovations are coming together in a way when, in the very near future, we can count on our own body heat to provide us with an always available energy source.”




Edited by Braden Becker




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