The team at Purdue University, led by Prof Wenzhuo Wu, developed a liquid-metal-inclusion (LMI) based triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG). This LMI-TENG uses a layer of liquid metal embedded functional silicone sandwiched between two polymer layers with a high dielectric constant.
"Our work presents an important step toward the practical realization of self-powered, human-integrated technologies," said Wu.
The LMI-TENG can harvest and sense the biomechanical signals from the body and use those to help power and direct technological devices. "We realized that liquid represents the ultimate form of anything that can be deformable and morphing into different shapes," said Wu. "Our technology will enable wearable electronics to take otherwise wasted energy and transform it into energy that can power and control electronic devices and tools used in military defense and consumer applications. Our technology allows the synergistic engineering of TENG components at the material, structural and output levels."