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Thermoelectric Converters of Human Warmth for Self-Powered Wireless Sensor Nodes

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4 Author(s)

Solar cells are the most commonly used devices in customer products to achieve power autonomy. This paper discusses a complementary approach to provide power autonomy to devices on a human body, i.e., thermoelectric conversion of human heat. In indoor applications, thermoelectric converters on the skin can provide more power per square centimeter than solar cells, particularly in adverse illumination conditions. Moreover, they work day and night. The first sensor nodes powered by human heat have been demonstrated and tested on people in 2004-2005. They used the state-of-the-art 100-muW watch-size thermoelectric wrist generators fabricated at IMEC and based on custom-design small-size BiTe thermopiles. The sensor node is completed with a power conditioning module, a microcontroller, and a wireless transceiver mounted on a watchstrap

Published in:

Sensors Journal, IEEE  (Volume:7 ,  Issue: 5 )