Powered prosthetic devices need a great deal of electricity to energize them throughout the day. Researchers at the University of Glasgow in Scotland have developed a combination electronic “skin” that can generate and store electricity for prosthetic devices.
The technology consists of layers of a finely tuned graphite-polyurethane composite covered by graphene, a material only one carbon atom in thickness. The graphite-polyurethane works as an electric supercapacitor, storing energy that can be used at any time by a prosthetic. The graphene component is essentially a solar panel that converts sunlight to electricity to charge the supercapacitor.
The Glasgow team conducted a series of experiments using their power system, including lighting 84 bright LEDs and running high-torque motors of a prosthetic hand.
From the study abstract in journal Advanced Science:
The fabricated SCs [supercapacitors] show stable response for more than 15 000 charging/discharging cycles at current densities of 10 mA cm−2 and operating voltage of 2.5 V (without considering the IR drop). The developed SCs are tested as energy storage devices for wide applications, namely: a) solar‐powered energy‐packs to operate 84 light‐emitting diodes (LEDs) for more than a minute and to drive the actuators of a prosthetic limb; b) powering high‐torque motors; and c) wristband for wearable sensors.
Flashback: Solar-Powered Touch-Sensitive Electronic Skin for Next Generation Prosthetics…
Study in journal Advanced Science: Graphene–Graphite Polyurethane Composite Based High‐Energy Density Flexible Supercapacitors…