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Your Sweat Could Soon Charge Your Phone

Written on August 20, 2014 at 10:09 am , by

Major #fitnessgirlproblems: when your struggling smartphone never seems to stay charged past the one-mile mark, leaving you music-free and potentially data-less. The solution? It could be those beads of sweat you’re forming.

A team of researchers at the University of California San Diego have created a sticky, temporary tattoo that acts as a bio-battery and uses lactate to generate power. Where does the battery get lactate? Right from your sweat.

“We’re trying to use our own body to generate power,” says Wenzhao Jia, Ph.D., postdoctoral researcher at the University of California San Diego who led the project. “This happens when sweat contacts the bio-battery, and it’s less toxic than a [standard] chemical battery.”

But there’s one caveat: if you tend to be a heavy sweater, you can’t assume your device will be ready for an Instagram spree. “You won’t necessarily be creating more power,” explains Jia. In fact, it’s the other way around. The harder your body works, the more lactate it produces. In other words: “The fitter ones produce less power; the less fit make more,” she says.

While this form of power serves up some motivation to push through that last set, Jia says she and the team still have a long way to go before the bio-battery becomes powerful enough to charge electronic devices. Still, it’s an interesting development we’ll anxiously be tracking. Who needs wall outlets these days, anyway?

Photo courtesy of UCSD

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