Big Ideas 2017

Jun Chen

From entertainment to fitness and health care, multi-function wearable electronics are helping people perform a multitude of tasks. We are all potentially our own source of renewable energy capable of powering our own smart devices. Imagine a healthcare system in which intrusive cords and cables were no longer required as the patient’s own body heat creates enough energy to self-power the wearable health-monitoring electronics. We know our bodies are capable of generating high amounts of heat, but how exactly do we harvest this resource? How do we convert it, store it and access it? An international team headed by Professor Jun Chen has begun to delve in to these questions and aims to develop an innovative design of wearable thermocells capable of harvesting body heat (thermal energy) to self-power body-worn smart electronics. What does it look like, a wrist band and/or smart textile? And will I need to go for a run to get my smartwatch started?


Professor Jun Chen works within the Australian Institute for Innovative Materials Intelligent Polymer Research Institute. He has published over 150 journal papers and edited six book chapters on ElectroActive Materials/Interfaces and Sustainable Energy Systems. He is also the co-inventor of 8 (CN, US and EU) patents that have been applied in Green Energy and Engineered-Materials industries.

Last reviewed: 6 June, 2017