The radio waves that penetrate the environment, from microwave ovens to Wi-Fi connections, are signals of energy used and energy sources. A team of international researchers led by Huanyu Cheng, Dorothy Quiggle’s Career Developer Professor at Penn State Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, has created a method to harness radio waves for power to power wearable devices.
The method was published in Materials Today Physics by the researchers.
Cheng says that current energy sources are still viable for powering wearable sensors, but each has limitations. For example, solar power can only be used to harvest energy from the sun. An autonomous triboelectric device powered by the sun can only harvest energy when moving.
Cheng stated, “we don’t want any of these power sources to be replaced.” “We want to provide more consistent energy.”
Researchers have developed a wireless wideband dipole antenna system that transmits data from health-monitoring devices. Two metal antennas are integrated into conductive graphene with a metal coating to form the system. Its wideband design maintains its frequency functions even when bent, bent, and twisted. The system is connected to a stretchable rectifying device, which creates a rectified antenna (or “rectenna”) capable of converting electromagnetic waves into electricity. This electricity can power wireless and charge energy storage devices such as supercapacitors and batteries.
The rectenna converts radio waves or electromagnetic waves from the environment into energy. This powers the sensor modules, which monitor temperature, hydration, and pulse oxygen levels. Cheng claims that while less energy is generated than other sources, the system can still generate power indefinitely, which is a significant advantage.
Cheng stated that Cheng is utilizing energy already around him — radio waves are everywhere and all the time. This energy is just wasted if it’s not used. This energy can be harnessed and used to power.
Cheng stated that this technology is an essential building block for him and his team. It will be combined with their wireless transmissible device to provide a crucial component that can work with existing sensor modules.
Cheng stated, “our next steps will be to explore miniaturized versions of these circuits and work on developing stretchability for the rectifier.” This platform allows us to combine this technology with previously created modules easily. It can be easily extended or modified for other applications. We plan to explore these possibilities.