StrechSense revealed a new wearable sensor that powers itself through movement.
Energy harvesting is an emerging trend for wearables. Several start-ups are working on extending battery life or even harvest enough energy to self-power wearables. Today StretchSense CEO Ben O’Brien officially announced at the Wearable Technologies Conference in San Francisco their patented energy-harvesting sensor. We already reported about this exciting new technology a month ago.
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The sensors can be coupled closely to the body so that it stretches as a person moves. In doing so, the sensor is designed to scavenge energy from human physical activities, like walking and running.
Energy harvesting technology is enabling the next generation of wearables that can be powered indefinitely - without needing to be recharged - if the energy captured from motion exceeds the amount required by the device. Where more power is needed, a simple rechargeable battery can be added to cover the disparity.
“Our objective from day one was to develop technology that serves a simple purpose: harvesting energy from human motion,” says StretchSense CEO and 2015 New Zealand Hi-Tech Young Achiever Award winner, Ben O’Brien. “Through our work with the University of Auckland, we have been able to create a compact, price appropriate solution that in the near future should start to see commercial usage.”
Small and self-powered sensors could be used in a wide variety of ways. There is potential for environmental monitoring sensors, the tracking and monitoring of the health for the elderly, and a host of chest-strap based wearable uses.
“At StretchSense, we’re really proud to be working with such a diverse group of clients, each of whom is bringing something new to the table; we are seeing new applications for the technology every day. We can’t wait to see the directions our clients will take it in the future,” adds O’Brien.
The technology is licensed and out of the academic testing phase but has not yet been brought to market.
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StretchSense was founded in late 2012 and is currently working with more than 100 clients in 20 countries. The company is a global supplier of soft sensors that facilitate high performance sports coaching and healthcare rehabilitation delivery methods. Company CEO Ben O’Brien has just announced the company’s energy harvesting capabilities. StretchSense, which spun out from the Auckland Biomimetics Lab in 2012, has a license from Auckland UniServices to sell technology that not only senses motion, but also harvests energy from it.