Wearables

Ready to wear: wireless and battery free wearables

29th May 2020
Lanna Cooper

WearGRAPH, a two-year long project part of the EU’s Graphene Flagship initiative, has developed a graphene-based, battery free wearable device that is also a wireless and flexible device for power 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 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 a NFC antenna, which could be integrated with a range of applications. 

The WearGRAPH team have applied this technology to a digitised 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 digitised cooling jacket could be used for a wide range of groups such as patients and workwear,” explained 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. WEARGraph was one of six ‘Spearhead Projects’ supported by the EU-funded Graphene Flagship initiative during its previous phase, Core 2. With a combined budget of €88m, these ‘Spearhead Projects’ brought together industry and academia to translate graphene’s huge potential into practical applications, prototypes, and market-ready devices.

Following the success of its 2018-2020 funding the Graphene Flagship has just kicked off eleven new industry-led ‘Spearhead Projects’ as part of its new funding cycle - Core 3.

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