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Sweat: The Next Biofuel?

Scientists have developed a tattoo to harness the power of perspiration.

The latest innovation in alternative energy? Sweat. 

And no, that’s not a metaphor for hardworking scientists. Salty sweat may serve as a viable energy source to power small electronic devices, according to new research from the University of California—San Diego.

A temporary tattoo embedded with a small sensor debuted at a meeting of the American Chemical Society this week. It is capable of harnessing the lactic acid that secretes through our skin when we exercise to produce a small amount of energy.

Let’s repeat that: Science has now graced us with a sweat-battery in the form of a tattoo.

Of course, this sci-fi tech comes with a few caveats. It appears the fitter you are, the less power you are able to generate because you secrete less lactic acid. Also, the device is now only capable of producing four microWatts, just enough to power a small LED light.

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So your sweat won’t power a city, but researchers expect that new versions of the tattoo/chip will be able to charge a small watch or even a smartphone.

They say good things come with a little sweat, but now thanks to science, so too does a quick recharge.


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