For harvesters that are woven or sewn into a textile, we use solid-state electrolytes (called gel electrolytes). In our preliminary investigation of the breathing sensor, the self-powered twistron was used to generate an output voltage that was recorded using an oscilloscope, but we did not measure the output power. This output power will increase with increase in the amount of twistron yarn that is sewn into the deformed region of the textile.
For the breathing monitor, the twistron harvester produces electricity when the twistron is stretched by breathing. Hence, the twistron sensor should be placed at a location on the garment where breathing causes textile stretch. No feeling of wearer discomfort will occur. For the demonstration reported in our Science paper, wires connected the harvesters to the monitor. However, we could have used the twistron harvester to power a wireless transmitter that sends data to a remote location. We mention in our Science paper just 31 milligram of CNT yarn harvester could provide the average power needed to transmit a 2-kB packet of data over a 100m radius every 10 s for the IoT.
Relevant for future impact on people-using our twistron harvesters to harvest the energy of the ocean to light cities and to power sensors that collect medical data and transmit it seem especially important.
It might be possible in the future to use our twistron harvesters to light up clothing in attractive ways in response to body movements, without the use of a battery. While piezoelectrics in shoes can light up shoes, they cannot harvest meaningful energy to do the same thing when woven into clothing.
We are continuing research and development with the goals of further improving twistron performance and using what we have discovered to make less expensive twistron harvesters.
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