Soft, stretchable, high power density electronic skin-based biofuel cells for scavenging energy from human sweat
This article describes the fabrication, characterization, and real-life application of a soft, stretchable electronic-skin-based biofuel cell (E-BFC) that exhibits an open circuit voltage of 0.5 V and a power density of nearly 1.2 mW cm−2 at 0.2 V, representing the highest power density recorded by a wearable biofuel cell to date. High power density is achieved via a unique combination of lithographically-patterned stretchable electronic framework together with screen-printed, densely-packed three-dimensional carbon-nanotube-based bioanode and cathode array arranged in a stretchable “island-bridge” configuration. The E-BFC maintains its performance even under repeated strains of 50%, and is stable for two days. When applied directly to the skin of human subjects, the E-BFC generates ∼1 mW during exercise. The E-BFC is able to power conventional electronic devices, such as a light emitting diode and a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) radio. This is the first example of powering a BLE radio by a wearable biofuel cell. Successful generation of high power density under practical conditions and powering of conventional energy-intense electronic devices represents a major step forward in the field of soft, stretchable, wearable energy harvesting devices.