Editor’s Choice Pick: “Developing a Wearable Skin-based Triboelectric Nanogenerator”

Read about one of our Editor’s Choice picks and the student author at the Journal of Emerging Investigators.

Meet the Student Author

Armaan Srireddy is a senior at Westwood High School in Austin, Texas. He will be attending UC Berkeley next year, where he plans to major in energy engineering. He has been passionate about energy since visiting Iceland in middle school and seeing how they used solely renewable energy.

Over the past several years, he has conducted research focused on developing a robust wearable generator. His research on triboelectric generators and their applications for temperature tracking was inspired by wanting to prevent heat emergencies caused by brutal Texas summers, which he and his peers experienced frequently through band or Scouting camps. He hopes that the wearable generators eventually become mainstream technology with the rapid growth of the wearable technology industry.

Learn More About Armaan’s Research

Portable energy sources are typically limited to batteries, which require frequent recharging. Powering important biosensors, like the ones that monitor body temperature, in remote areas without an easy access to a power grid is therefore challenging. Armaan hypothesized that the friction between the skin and another electrically charged material generated during body movement could produce enough energy to power a body temperature sensor. This kind of charge-mediated energy generation is called the triboelectric effect.

Armaan first tested how much voltage different charged materials generated after repeated contact of the triboelectric generator with the skin and found that the combination of skin and silicone could generate upward of 1 V. To increase this voltage further, he identified copper as the superior conductor to aluminum in his triboelectric generator. In addition to these two variables, Armaan also considered the surface area of the point of contact between the generator and the skin and found that the amount of voltage generated increased linearly with the contact surface area.

Finally, to put his triboelectric generator idea to the test in the real world, Armaan designed a shirt and measured the voltage output while wearing the shirt and walking or running. He found that running generated more voltage than walking, consistent with his triboelectric effect hypothesis. The amount of voltage generated while running was around 3.5 V, which was sufficient to power the body temperature sensor he used in his study.

Armaan’s study provides a valuable contribution to the fields of energy scavenging and wearable biosensors. He hopes that his research could eventually be used to monitor and prevent dangerous heat strokes in the ever-warming world.

Check out the full manuscript to learn more about Armaan’s research and why his manuscript was selected as an Editor’s Choice manuscript.

The material on this page was prepared by Aleks Radakovic, JEI Managing Editor. Armaan Srireddy provided the photo and personal biography which was edited lightly for clarity.