As millions of irate PokÃ©mon Go players learned last summer, the battery life of the average smartphone is no match for the power needs of immersive apps. Nothing harshes a Pikachu hunt quite like having to stop and juice your phone, either via a wireless charging pad or (gasp!) by plugging your phone into an actual electrical socket like some kind of animal.
Technology has advanced in inverse proportion to our patience for being even slightly inconvenienced by it, and in 2016, even a few minutes of human-gadget separation feels needless and passÃ©.
In the latest chapter of man’s evolution into machine, researchers at North Carolina State University have designed a stick-on skin patch that captures body heat, forces it through tiny thermoelectric generators and transmits the power to electronic gadgets.
The idea is not particularly new—scientists have been experimenting with body heat as a power source for years—but since this prototype is thinner, lighter and more powerful than previous efforts, proponents believe it has the potential to go mainstream.