‘Matrix’-style wearables can use human bodies as energy source


  • University of Colorado Boulder scientists have come up with a wearable device that can be used to boot up devices using the human’s body heat as a power source. 
  • The recyclable tech has thermoelectric chips that can produce up to 1 volt of energy per square centimeter of skin covered. 
  • The idea for this gadget is reminiscent of the 1999 movie starring Keanu Reeves, “The Matrix”, which portrayed humans as trapped inside a simulated reality and unknowingly used by machines as an energy source. 

Just like in the 1999 sci-fi movie, “The Matrix”, scientists have now created technology that could use the human body to convert body heat into batteries. 

Reuters reports that U.S. researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a device containing thermoelectric chips that transform heat into electrical energy. The device, according to the research, can produce around 1 volt of energy per square centimeter of skin covered.

With this, tech-lovers can now wear an environmentally-friendly, flexible ring or bracelet to activate their own watches or fitness trackers. 

“(Thermoelectric devices) can provide continuous power to wearable devices and could potentially replace batteries in the future,” Jianliang Xiao, the study’s senior author, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation through email.

“We hope this technology could, at least partially, solve the pollution problems of electronic waste,” he added, saying the gadget is totally recyclable.

The new device will surely sound familiar especially to the fans of the dystopian “Matrix” movie that starred Keanu Reeves. The iconic thriller featured humanity as trapped inside the Matrix, a simulated reality, where robots that have taken over the world, used their bodies as an energy source.  

While further research is needed to boost the amount of power produced and allow for mass production, Xiao said the technology could be commercially available within 5 to 10 years. 

“Just don’t tell the robots,” the university jokingly said in a statement. “We don’t want them getting any ideas.” 

The research was published in the journal Science Advances.

Source: Reuters

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