Will watch batteries go the way of the dinosaurs?
How many times have you used your wearable fitness tracker and it suddenly turned off mid-workout? If you answered at least once, this article is for you.
"There are still some kinks that need to be worked out with wearable technology."
While wearable technology provides a gluttony of benefits for even the most hardened workout aficionado (and that's a good thing), there are still some hardware kinks companies need to fix.
For example, makers can (and should) continue to improve device battery life.
Much of the tech we use still runs on batteries. And when batteries die, we have to replace them. This can get expensive.
However, Matrix Industries may have solved this problem by developing a new watch that recharges using the owner's body's heat. That's right – the wearer is the battery.
Called the PowerWatch, this mobile device takes advantage of thermoelectrics, which is the process of generating electricity when certain temperature gradients are met. More specifically, electrons in the thermoelectric material will shift between hot and cold temperatures. In the case of the PowerWatch, these electrons move from the warm surface of the wearer's body to the watch, which powers it.
Akram Boukai, Matrix Industries co-founder and CEO, discussed the PowerWatch with CNNMoney, which had tested the device by walking around a conference room while wearing it.
"When you exercise, your skin gets warmer, so you'll generate more power. It's kind of motivational," Boukai said.
CNNMoney reported that the watch's battery level did increase with movement.
"The PowerWatch's battery level increased with movement."
The problem with other devices
The main issue the PowerWatch solves is the need to use a physical charger or replace batteries.
While charging and replacing may be OK for the vast majority of mobile fitness users, others will find the process time-consuming and maddening.
Fitbit claims, for example, that Fitbit Blaze's battery life lasts up to five days. But that figure only applies to ideal conditions – in actual practice it depends on settings and charge cycles, among other things.
The Casio WSD-F10 Outdoor Smartwatch is absolutely perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, but its battery life leaves much to be desired, noted Wareable, which, at the time, claimed that it had the worst battery life of any smartwatch.
The PowerWatch looks to finally address power problems, which could be an even bigger boost to an already booming industry.
You can purchase it soon
If you're excited about the possibility of never having a dead battery interrupt your workout again, you're in luck. Matrix will launch the PowerWatch for $99.99 this November for men only. It will then launch watches for women soon after.