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DARPA to Turn Humans into Batteries

A research project by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) seeks to exploit the untapped power reserve of the human body. By utilizing piezoelectric and thermodynamic power generation components, the researchers hope to provide enough energy for a suite of planned embedded technologies.

Some readers may be familiar with piezoelectric components, which generate electricity from the vibrations created by movement. The DARPA initiative is also looking into generating power from thermodynamic reactions—such as the difference between body temperature and the surrounding air—much like how these boots from Orange generate electricity to recharge gadgets.

The main objective of the project is to create enough power to drive a bunch of military-friendly gadgets. Examples include "Sensor-studded clothing worn by a soldier tracks his movements and vital signs", and "contact lenses that function as computer screens" and receive information via radio.

In The Matrix franchise, robots enslaved humankind as a source of power. They turned humans into giant living batteries, tapping the thermal and kinetic energies produced by our bodies. While machines intelligent enough to take over are awhiles away, they'll at least know how to use as batteries when the time comes.

Embedded Technologies: Power From the People (Image: josephwharton on Flickr)