Researchers from the Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) at the University of Surrey have developed a tool that can help designers develop, create and understand wearable technology better. The new tool can predict how a wearable can perform while it is still in the testing stages before it has been manufactured.
The new tech is focused on how materials become electrically charged after they touch each other, also known as triboelectric materials. Triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGS) use a static charge to gather movement energy with electrostatic induction. TENGS have been designed to convert any type of movement into electricity. The new tool allows for designers to understand the output power that their wearable will create in use.
Ishara Dharmasena, a lead scientist on this project from the University of Surrey, said, "The future global energy mix will depend on renewable energy sources such as solar power, wind, motion, vibrations and tidal. TENGs are a leading technology to capture and convert motion energy into electricity, extremely useful in small-scale energy harvesting applications. Our work will, for the first time, provide universal guidance to develop, compare and improve various TENG designs. We expect this technology in the household and industrial electronic products, catering to a new generation of mobile and autonomous energy requirements."
Professor Ravi Silva, director of the Advanced Technology Institute, said, "This is truly an exciting area of research for our team — an area we have been working on over a number of years. We believe that our new tool will be of great help to a lot of researchers and designers who are investigating these materials. The world urgently needs new forms of affordable and renewable energy sources. TENGs not only present a wonderful opportunity for the consumer electronics industry, but they are an incredibly exciting material group that could be used in all countries and remote locations where the national grid does not extend, particularly for radios, wireless communication devices, and medical equipment."
The paper on this new tool was published in Nano Energy.