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Human body energy harvest using a super elastic wearable skin patch


Project Description

Hypothesis

A body motion energy harvester can generate power from wearable patches. The patches are highly flexible and super elastic and can be applied to high-flexion joints and suitable for integration with fabrics.

The new body motion energy harvesting device can generate electrical current from the full range of human motions and is small enough to embed in clothing. The body motion can generate enough power to be used for wearable electrical devices such as hearing device or a mobile phone.

Innovations

A new, patch energy harvesting system developed at UH has the potential to generates electricity when it is stretched, compressed or bent. The device can harvest the energy even at the extremely low frequencies characteristic of human motion.
This design could be applied to the body as part of a bandage or patch or incorporated in clothing. It is also designed to harvest energy from the body's low-frequency natural motions, such as bending expansion or stretching, not from vibration energy or from repeated prescribed motions that some devices require.

Key points

Compared to the other approaches designed to harvest energy from human motion, the UH method has two fundamental advantages,
The materials are small enough to be impregnated into textiles without affecting the fabric's look or feel
It can extract energy from movements that are slower than 10 Hertz (10 cycles per second) over the whole low-frequency window of movements corresponding to human motion.
The UH harvester is calculated to operate at over 25 percent efficiency in an ideal device configuration, and most importantly harvest energy through the whole duration of even slow human motions, such as sitting or standing.

Comparison with similar methods

Extracting usable energy from such low frequency motion has proven to be extremely challenging. For example, a number of research groups are developing energy harvesters based on piezoelectric materials that convert mechanical strain into electricity. However, these materials often work best at frequencies of more than 100 Hertz. This means that they don't work for more than a tiny fraction of any human movement, so they achieve limited efficiencies of less than 5-10 percent even under optimal conditions.

Method

The project will be practiced through a series of experimental activity and computer simulation. Minimum 3 yeas research-based activity expected to complete the project. I full time PhD student should be allocated for this project.

Application Web Page

Applicants must apply using the online form on the University Alliance website at https://unialliance.ac.uk/dta/cofund/how-to-apply/. Full details of the programme, eligibility details and a list of available research projects can be seen at https://unialliance.ac.uk/dta/cofund/

Funding Notes

DTA3/COFUND participants will be employed for 36 months with a minimum salary of (approximately) £20,989 per annum. Tuition fees will waived for DTA3/COFUND participants who will also be able to access an annual DTA elective bursary to enable attendance at DTA training events and interact with colleagues across the Doctoral Training Alliance(s).
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 801604.

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