The energy autonomy is a critical feature that would enable better portability and longer operation times for wearable systems. In the next generation of prosthesis and robotics, the operation of multiple components (from few sensors to millions of electronic devices) distributed along surface of an artificial skin will be a major challenge. In this regard, a compact, light-weight and wearable energy system, consisting of energy generators, energy storage devices and low power electronics, is highly needed. The latest discoveries demonstrated with advanced materials (e.g. nanostructures, thin films, organic materials, etc.) have permitted the development of the lighter and wearable sensors, energy harvesters and energy storage devices. Moreover, new techniques to evade wired connection in robotics/prosthesis by using conformable energy generator and storage systems as well as near-field communication data/energy transmission have opened new technological era. This paper presents the development in the field of self-powered e-skin, particularly focusing on the available energy harvesting technologies, high capacity energy storage devices, and high efficiency and low power sensors. The paper highlights the key challenges, critical design strategies, and most promising materials for the development of an energy-autonomous e-skin for robotics, prosthetics and wearable systems.
Manjakkal, L., Nunez, C. G., & Dahiya, R. (2019). Energy autonomous eSkin. In Proceedings SPIE 10982: Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications XI. https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2520757