Researchers at the University of Glasgow in Scotland have developed an 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. The team explained that the graphite-polyurethane works as an electric supercapacitor, storing energy that can be used at any time by a prosthetic. The graphene component is said to essentially be a solar panel that converts sunlight to electricity to charge the supercapacitor.
The Glasgow team reportedly conducted a series of experiments using their power system, including lighting 84 bright LEDs and running high-torque motors of a prosthetic hand.
The fabricated supercapacitors (SCs) reportedly yielded a 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. The developed SCs are tested as energy storage devices for wide applications, like 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, for powering high‐torque motors and for wearable sensors.