WearGRAPH, a two-year-long project part of the EU's Graphene Flagship initiative, has developed a graphene-based, battery-free, wireless and flexible power device for wearable electronics.
This new design overcomes problems associated with more conventional modes of power supply in wearable electronics, including the inconvenience of recharging batteries and safety concerns.
Led by Graphene Flagship partners the Dresden University of Technology and Interactive Wear in Germany, the project has achieved the objectives set at its launch in 2018 – to use graphene's high level of connectivity and flexibility in textiles with energy harvesting and energy storage, to produce a self-sufficient wearable device.
The unique properties of graphene have allowed scientists to design a system where solar cells and supercapacitors provide the power, removing the need for a lithium-ion battery or regular stops for recharging.
The device communicates with a smartphone via an NFC antenna, which could be integrated with a range of applications.
The WearGRAPH team has applied this technology to a digitized cooling jacket.
The E-COOLINE Powercool SX3 Shirt has been successfully equipped with its own climate monitoring system. The shirt has sensors for barometric pressure, humidity and temperature, with the system's self-charging sensors relaying the data to a smartphone.
The result is a more effective cooling system but without the need for any wires or charging.
"The developed digitized cooling jacket could be used for a wide range of groups such as patients and workwear," said Xinliang Feng, professor at Graphene Flagship partner TU Dresden, who led the WEARGraph project.
"The technology has huge potential to address various market segments such as fashion, sport, wellness, medical and, in general, Internet of Things applications," added Ali Shaygan Nia, group leader at TU Dresden.
"It is now up to design engineers to take advantage of the huge range of possible applications the new technology offers."