MIT Energy Initiative

Batteryless energy harvester

Running electronics on body heat

Credit: Justin Knight

This technology directly addresses today’s energy challenge by generating clean energy in a highly distributed manner.

Anantha Chandrakasan

MIT researchers have demonstrated a wearable power generator that uses the difference in temperature between your skin and the surrounding air – even just a couple of degrees – to produce a small, steady flow of power to run your medical monitor or your Bluetooth® headset. No need for a battery.

In the wearable power generator, a commercially available “thermal harvester” turns the temperature difference into electricity, but the generated voltage and current are tiny. The MIT solution: a novel “interface circuit” that boosts that tiny voltage to a useful level, keeps it constant despite temperature changes, and delivers the highest-ever fraction of the power from the harvester to the device.


This research was supported in part by the MIT Energy Initiative Seed Fund