Piezoelectric energy harvesting for self‐powered wearable upper limb applications

Yuchi Liu, Hamideh Khanbareh, Hadi Heidari, Rami Ghannam

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Wearable devices can be used for monitoring vital physical and physiological signs remotely, as well as for interacting with computers. Widespread adoption of wearables is somewhat hindered by the duration time they can be used without re‐recharging. To ensure uninterrupted operation, these devices need a constant and battery‐less energy supply. Scavenging energy from the wearable's surroundings is, therefore, an essential step towards achieving genuinely autonomous and self‐powered devices. While energy harvesting technologies may not completely eliminate the battery storage unit, they can ensure a maximum duration of use. Piezoelectric energy harvesting is a promising and efficient technique to generate electricity for powering wearable devices in response to body movements. Consequently, we systematically survey the range of technologies used for scavenging energy from the human body, with a particular focus on the upper‐limb area. According to our review and in comparison to other upper limb locations, highest power densities can be achieved from piezoelectric transducers located on the wrist. For short and fast battery charging needs, we therefore review the range of materials, architectures and devices used to scavenge energy from these upper‐limb areas. We provide comparisons as well as recommendations and possible future directions for harvesting energy using this promising technique.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1459-1479
JournalNano Select
Issue number8
Early online date9 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2021


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