While some folks see tattoos to be a form of self expression that is artistic and tasteful, perhaps there might be more than meets the eye where practical application is involved? We have seen tattoos in the past that were able to help athletes perform at their peak for a longer period of time, but this time around, how about a tattoo which could help you charge up your phone, while you burn some calories on the side? This is exactly what a team over at the University of California San Diego have come up with, thanks to a temporary tattoo-like sensor which will be able to transform sweat into electricity.
How does this tattoo work? For instance, it will be able to monitor the amount of lactate present, which is a kind of substance that can be found in sweat, and the levels get more concentrated as the amount of activity increases. There is a good reason for athletes and certain medical patients to keep an eye on lactate levels, and current testing will require an invasive blood test during an exercise session. Needless to say, having a “tattoo” (sensor) makes it less painful, and there will be an enzyme on the sensor itself which collects electrons from lactate, resulting in a tiny electric current. It might not amount to much, but when collected, it could be worth producing an accessory that will harness such power to juice up a depleted battery down the road.
It is said that the highest amount of energy which has been produced by a single person during the test ended up at 70 microWatts per square centimeter of skin, and there is further research being made to increase the efficiency of such a system.