High-tech ring powered by body heat

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

tech ring invention
Aluminum is a great metal for conducting thermal energy.

When mood rings first came out around the 1970s, people were impressed with how the funky colors changed with nothing but body heat. Now, a man named Sean Hodgins has invented an awesome two-banded ring that also uses temperature, only it produces energy to power LED bulbs!

The ring works by using special tiles called Peltier units. When you heat one side of the unit and cool the other, the difference in temperature produces a special type of energy called thermal energy. The body heat from your hand on one side of the ring, plus the coolness from the air on the other side is enough to produce thermal energy voltage (electrical power) and power LED bulbs embedded in the finger jewelry.

The ring is made out of a lightweight metal called aluminum, which actually conducts thermal energy really well. Hodgins designed the light to blink faster as the thermal differences increase, then to shine continuously when the voltage is high enough.

This method is similar to one used by Google Science Fair winner Ann Makosinski, who created a body-heat-powered flashlight also using Peltier tiles. Interestingly enough, both of the inventors wanted to build a product that took advantage of the energy our bodies constantly expel as heat. Such wearable tech could one day power our smart devices. Imagine refilling your smartphone’s battery by putting it against your skin…

Images courtesy of Idle Hands Project.