California researchers are on the brink of harnessing the power of human perspiration – yes, your sweat – to generate energy enough to power your electronic handheld devices. This is done, for now, through a temporary “tattoo” which has a sensor imprinted on it that could turn sweat into electrical power.
So in a sense, the more you sweat, the more energy is produced and collected. The sensor works by getting electrons from the lactate in human sweat, with a cathode that takes the said electrons for electrical energy. This system simply allows you to collect energy – albeit for now, pretty weak electricity – from sweat.
If we’re talking about the present, then the answer is undeniably – NO, we can’t yet power a handheld device from this system simply because it does not generate enough power. But in the future, when the system is bettered, and the power need of devices come down, this might actually be possible.
Dr. Wenzhao Jia, lead of the research team based in the University of California-San Diego, believes that it can be done. For reference, a regular electrical watch requires "at least 10 microWatts" to be powered. The electrodes that are in the temporary tattoo now generates around 4 microWatts. As the process is perfected, that gap might be bridged very, very soon.