Here’s an interesting crowdfunded project on Indiegogo right now, a smartwatch powered by the heat of the human body called the PowerWatch. The guys over at Matrix Industries came up with the idea as “proof-of-concept” for their patented thermoelectric generator tech, which is compact and efficient enough to power small wearables at this stage.
Gizmodo has the technical details on how the watch’s thermoelectric generator circuit works:
In order for a thermoelectric generator circuit to work, one side requires a constant source of heat, while the other side needs to remain much cooler. The important factor is the temperature difference between the two, which is why the technology works so well when integrated into a watch.
The human body does its best to remain at a constant internal temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That heat propagates out to the skin, where it can be absorbed by the back of the PowerWatch while it’s being worn. On the other side of the watch is a metal housing and crown, with heatsinks disguised as part of its design, that help it to remain considerably cooler than the side touching the wearer’s skin.
As long as that temperature difference exists, the smartwatch is able to generate all the power it needs to run. When the watch isn’t being worn, it automatically goes into a low-power sleep mode, powered by an internal battery, so that it maintains the correct time and date until you put it back on again.
As for features, the PowerWatch pales in comparison to the typical Android Wear device or the Apple Watch. Bluetooth connectivity is available for smartphone syncing, which allows limited features such as time syncing and allowing users to change the smartwatch’s face. Smartphone notifications are not part of the feature list, though.
As a fitness tracker, the PowerWatch is an excellent choice, given its dependence on the user’s body heat. Its accuracy in counting calories burned, according to Matrix Industries, is second to none.
For now, the PowerWatch is still being crowdfunded through Indiegogo. A minimum backing of $170 (~Php 8.5K) is needed to get a unit, with pre-orders shipping in July 2017.