Energy Harvesting from the Animal/Human Body for Self-Powered Electronics

Dagdeviren, C.*,†, Li, Z., Wang, Z.L.*,†, Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering, 19, 85-108, 2017. [Invited Review Paper]


Living subjects (i.e., humans and animals) have abundant sources of energy in chemical, thermal, and mechanical forms. The use of these energies presents a viable way to overcome the battery capacity limitation that constrains the long-term operation of wearable/implantable devices. The intersection of novel materials and fabrication techniques offers boundless possibilities for the benefit of human health and well-being via various types of energy harvesters. This review summarizes the existing approaches that have been demonstrated to harvest energy from the bodies of living subjects for self-powered electronics. We present material choices, device layouts, and operation principles of these energy harvesters with a focus on in vivo applications. We discuss a broad range of energy harvesters placed in or on various body parts of human and animal models. We conclude with an outlook of future research in which the integration of various energy harvesters with advanced electronics can provide a new platform for the development of novel technologies for disease diagnostics, treatment, and prevention.

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