A new generation of wireless technology could allow electronic devices to harvest energy directly from the human body. Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada have developed a wireless communication system that uses the body’s own electrical field to transmit data.

The technology, called “human body communication,” could eliminate the need for batteries in some wearable and implantable devices, such as fitness trackers and pacemakers. The system works by sending low-frequency signals through the body, which are then picked up by a receiver on the device.

According to the researchers, the human body is a better conductor of electricity than the air or other materials that are typically used in wireless communication. By harnessing the body’s electrical field, the technology can transmit data more efficiently and with less power.

“We’re leveraging the human body as a communication medium,” said study author Professor Omid Abari. “Essentially, what we’re doing is connecting electronic devices to your body in a way that’s seamless and non-invasive.”

The researchers say that the technology could also have applications in the emerging field of “smart tattoos.” These are temporary or semi-permanent tattoos that contain electronics and sensors, and can be used for a range of medical and health monitoring applications.

“Our technology could allow for the creation of smart tattoos that can harvest energy from the human body to power their sensors,” said Abari. “This could enable a whole new range of applications, from monitoring vital signs to tracking the progression of diseases.”

However, the researchers caution that more work is needed before the technology can be widely adopted. One challenge is to ensure that the signals transmitted through the body are secure and can’t be intercepted by hackers. The researchers are also exploring ways to increase the speed and range of the technology.

Despite these challenges, the researchers say that the potential benefits of human body communication are significant. By eliminating the need for batteries, the technology could reduce the environmental impact of electronic devices and improve their reliability.

“We believe that human body communication could be the next big thing in wireless technology,” said Abari. “It has the potential to change the way we interact with electronic devices and revolutionize the healthcare industry.”

Via The Impactlab