Wednesday, 27 Feb, 2008 Science
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Body Heat to Power Electronic Devices Soon

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Using body heat instead of batteries to power various devices is no longer a dream. German scientists developed a circuit that can be used to produce electricity from body heat.

A new way of generating electricity from body heat was discovered by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Germany together with scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques (IPM) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Applied Materials Research IFAM.

Their method is based on the principle of thermoelectric generators (TEG)produced from semiconductor elements. The temperature difference between hot and cold environment contributes to generation of electricity with the help of TEGs.

Usually, the difference of several tens of degrees is necessary to generate electricity. But when comparing body temperature and environment temperature, the difference is just a few degrees which is enough to generate only low voltages. In order to produce electricity for electronic devices one or two volts are necessary, while TEG extract about 200 millivolts.

The scientists developed a completely new way of generating electricity, creating circuits that work on 200 millivolts. This discovery led to creation of electronic system that produces energy from body heat. Researchers are making further improvements for various applications.

Electricity would be possible to produce anywhere a temperature difference takes place.

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