Renewable energy is often seen as unwieldy or unreliable, but progress in climate-friendly tech suggests it could actually be more convenient. TEGs, or thermoelectric generators, can convert heat to electrical energy—and as a result, even body heat could be used to power small wearable electronic devices.
Unlike old TEGs which are rigid, the ones revealed in this study from “can be bent without affecting power output.” They’re flexible and stretchy, which makes them practical tech for people to actually wear on their bodies.
Modeled after human skin, this kind of electronic skin, or is self-healing when damaged and has never before been combined with TEG power. Liquid metal and high-performance plastic allow pieces to connect like Legos, making the technology customizable.
Other features have been added to make this TEG more practical for everyday use: for example, a film on the outer “cold” side of the device is wavelength-selective, meaning it can handle light and heat from the sun well enough to still function during outdoor activities.
New green energy technology is focused on ease of use, breadth of application, and possibility. This new TEG development suggests a future of energy-harvesting technology that’s easily adaptable, durable, high-performing, and eco-friendly.