Table of Contents
ISRN Renewable Energy
Volume 2011, Article ID 785380, 11 pages
Research Article

Human Machine and Thermoelectric Energy Scavenging for Wearable Devices

Smart Systems and Energy Technology Unit, Imec, Kapeldreef 75, 3001 Leuven, Belgium

Received 23 August 2011; Accepted 21 September 2011

Academic Editors: S. Cook and F. E. Little

Copyright © 2011 Vladimir Leonov. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Thermal properties of humans were studied in the case where a small-size energy scavenger is placed on the body. In such a case, the human being serves as a heat source for the thermopile of the scavenger, but the latter serves as a thermally insulating object. As a result, the body properties, namely, the skin temperature, heat flow, and thermal resistance locally change. This is the result of redirection of heat flow inside the body to colder zones because of thermal insulation provided by the scavenger. Increased thermal resistance of human body, in turn, affects the design of the scavenger. The analysis of such scavenger performed for ambient temperatures of 0°C to 25°C shows that it could reach competitive performance characteristics and replace batteries in low-power wearable electronics. A simulated power of up to 60 μW/cm2 at 0°C has been validated by using wearable thermoelectric modules.