The method, which incorporates principles similar to thermoelectric generators
, may prolong battery life in personal electronics or possibly lead to the absence of batteries altogether. TEG's utilize temperature differences to create electrical current.
Current TEG technology requires temperature differentials of many degrees. Fraunhofer Institute
researchers have been experimenting with new processes which could reduce the temperature difference needed to just a few degrees, the difference between room temperature and the human body for example.
This, combined with improved electrical circuits that require lower voltage could lead to personal electronics which can be powered by body heat alone. There are also possible applications which would recapture some of the energy we expend for heating and cooling of our homes and offices, making environmental control more efficient. The institute is also interested in medical applications of the technology.