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Harvesting Energy from Radio Waves to Power Wearable Electronic Devices

The Radio Waves that permeate the environment are not just signals of energy consumed but are also sources of energy themselves. It diversifies all Electronic devices across the network from microwave ovens to WiFi connections. An international team of researchers, led by Huanyu “Larry” Cheng, Dorothy Quiggle Career Development Professor in the Penn State Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, has developed a way to Harvesting Energy from Radio Waves to power wearable devices.

Current energy sources have their tabs on wearable health-monitoring devices, but each dwells its setbacks. It also has a place in powering sensor devices, but that too has its limitations. For instance, solar energy can only harvest energy when exposed to the sun. “We don’t want to replace any of these current power sources,” Cheng said. “We are trying to provide additional, consistent energy.”

The researchers developed a stretchable wideband antenna system capable of wirelessly transmitting data that is collected from health monitoring systems. The system developed then stretches to a well-connected circuit creating antenna and is capable of converting energy into electromagnetic waves into electricity. The energy generated could be used to power wireless devices or charge the solar energy storage devices. It covers a vast variety of devices that are compatible with charging through this energy and includes batteries and supercapacitors.

Cheng asserted that the technology in use has long existed in the system. The utilization of the energy is based on the elements that surround the earth, that is Radio Waves, which are present most of the time. The technology is a building block for Cheng and his team’s further researches and could be a vital move to enhance the energy power for wearable electronic devices.

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