Scientists led by researchers from RMT University in Melbourne have invented an experimental wearable device that generates power from a user’s bending finger.
It can also create and store ‘memories’, in what the researchers call a promising step towards health monitoring and other technologies.
The innovation features a single, super-thin nanomaterial incorporated into a stretchable casing fitted to a person’s finger.
The nanomaterial enabled the device to generate power with the user bending their finger.
Developed by a multi university team including the University of Melbourne the proof-of-concept device was made with the rust of a low-temperature liquid metal called bismuth, which is safe and well suited for wearable applications.
Senior lead researcher and engineer Dr Ali Zavabeti said the invention could be developed to create medical wearables that monitor vital signs.
Dr Zavabeti said: “The innovation was used in our experiments to write, erase and re-write images in nanoscale, so it could feasibly be developed to one day encode bank notes, original art or authentication services.”
The team’s research is published in the journal, Advanced Functional Materials.
Dr Zavabeti said: “We tested natural motion behaviour with the device attached to a finger joint, with an average output peak of about 1 volt.”
The device was able to perform the memory functions of “read”, “write” and “erase”, which included using the RMIT logo and a square-shaped insignia as demonstrations of these capabilities.
The device wrote and stored the logo and symbol in a space that could fit 20 times within the width of a human hair.
The team is keen to collaborate with industry partners to further develop and prototype this invention.
Picture: RMIT University