The latest innovation in energy harvesting comes from the technology company Danfoss PolyPower. The material is a sports sensor technology, which uses electrostatic film to measure force and stance, when worn during sport activities.
The material can monitor performance, providing data for knee and elbow angle, shoulder alignment, breathing rates, muscle volume and many more sport related parameters that are crucial for achieving maximum results.
The developers at PolyPower, however, do not plan to stop there. They claim that the material has the potential to harvest energy not only from human movement, but also from ocean waves.
The film is made of a silicone dielectric material. It has a corrugated surface covered by a layer of metallic electrode. It is an improved version of the popular Dielectric Electro Active Polymer (DEAP). When high voltage is applied, the film expands in plane and contracts in thickness. The Polypower material makes it stretch in length and stiff in width.
In addition, depending on the applications, the material can be modified in various ways.
The developers are certain that it could be used to harvest mechanical energy. This is possible due to the stretching and relaxing of the film when voltage is applied. Ultimately, this means that sensor technologies can be powered directly from human movement.
The company is currently working towards developing an installation of the material, which can harvest energy from offshore waves.