The emergence of human-motion-based energy harvesters is a reflection of the need to develop future energy supplies for small-scale human-motion-based self-powered and self-sensing devices. Such systems have a widespread application in modern society, which includes health monitoring, medical care, wearable devices, wireless sensor nodes, and outdoor rescue. This paper overviews the state-of-the-art and recent progress in human-motion-based self-powered and self-sensing devices, where we classify the range of available energy sources, the energy conversion mechanisms, relevant materials, and novel device architectures to harvest human-motion energy. The range of human-motion energy sources is classified into three categories based on how they act as excitation sources for energy harvesting. The commonly used energy conversion mechanisms are then overviewed in detail, which include electromagnetic, piezoelectric, and electrostatic (dielectric elastomer generator and triboelectric nanogenerator) mechanisms, and the range of potential electroactive materials is discussed. In addition, the harvesting structures, operating mechanisms, and performance of human-motion-based energy harvesters are overviewed, discussed, and characterized based on the range of available human-motion energy sources. Furthermore, the application of self-powered devices in delivering power to implantable medical devices, wearable devices, and other low-powered electronics are comprehensively reviewed. The state-of-the-art and future advances in human-motion-based self-sensing devices are then reviewed and related to their application in human activity recognition, health monitoring, and human–machine interactions. Finally, key developments are summarized and discussed, and the potential research directions and critical challenges are presented to highlight future opportunities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1501-1565
Number of pages65
Issue number7
Early online date20 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 51905349 , U2013603 , and 12072267 ), the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (grant nos. 2020A1515011509 and 2022A1515010126 ), the Science, Technology, and Innovation Commission of Shenzhen Municipality (grant no. JCYJ20190806153615091 ), the Innovation Capability Support Plan of Shaanxi Province (grant no. 2020KJXX-021 ), the Natural Science Foundation of Shenzhen University (grant no. 860-000002110264 ), and the 111 Project (grant no. BP0719007 ).


  • energy harvesting
  • human motion
  • self-powered
  • self-sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Energy


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