Could a new source of power fuel new wearable tech startups?

The interesting thing about startups over the last ten years has been watching the cost of starting a company drop so that really just about anyone with a couple of months can launch something on the web that can be interesting.

"Epiphany Eyewear" by Erick Miller
“Epiphany Eyewear” by Erick Miller

Those launching products that need to produce molecules — physical products that need a truck to get delivered to the end user — face a higher hurdle.

But it seems like that hurdle is dropping, because there are so many interesting startups making products that I’m so interested in these days.

The problem with nearly all of these products is that they require battery power. Batteries are inconvenient, and often too large for the form factors that would be ideal. Or if they’re small enough, they don’t last long enough.

Well, there’s one battery that could change this forever: Me.

And you, too.

Some researchers from Korea — where they’ve been known to develop and commercialize technology pretty quickly — have come up with a wrist band that can generate electricity from the heat of the human body. I think this could be really transformative.

So much of the space of mobile devices is taken up with a battery. Imagine a FitBit that you wouldn’t lose because it’s not a plastic widget, but more like a sticky note. Imagine a Nike Fuel Band that doesn’t have a problem with screws because it doesn’t need screws to hold in a battery. Imagine a GoPro that you wear on your head like a golf visor. Imagine bluetooth noise-canceling headphones that fit in your ear and are powered by the heat from your ears.

Imagine charging your phone by plugging it in to your belt.

Just as cheap development fueled an explosion in startups, a massive jump in power availability and convenience could be the thing that makes wearable tech take off.

And then from there, how much longer will it be before this intermediate step of wearable tech becomes the next step of fully implanted technology? I wonder if kids today will all be “bionic” someday soon? It will be fun to watch.

file under: Startups