Design considerations for photovoltaic energy harvesting in wearable devices

Sci Rep. 2022 Oct 28;12(1):18143. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-22232-x.

ABSTRACT

Wearable technology is emerging as a solution for various bio-mechanic and health-metric applications. Solar photovoltaic energy is a viable supplemental power source that can reduce battery size requirements in wearables. This study outlines the considerations for a wearable sleeve device and its associated power converter system using commercially-available flexible photovoltaic panels located on the forearm. Investigation of the effects of curvature shows that while curvature of the panel around a forearm does reduce output power, the angle relative to the light source has a more pronounced effect on both output power and voltage characteristics. Among various panel arrangements on the forearm, that with five individual panels of smaller width provided the highest output power after the boost converter power stage. Testing under various static positions, the PV sleeve provided up to 94 mW outdoors, which can effectively reduce the battery size while maintaining user safety.

PMID:36307451 | PMC:PMC9616834 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-022-22232-x

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