Special SPF Sun Block Electrifies Skin in Tests

It seems April Fools’ Day this year got very popular with corporate America and media outlets:

From a new “body controlled” email system to the purchase of Pluto to a royal wedding–themed car, companies and media outletshave been busily pranking this April Fools’ Day, lightening up anotherwise grim news flow focused on violence in Libya and the ongoingdisaster in Japan.

The MarketWatch story linked to above references the day’s gags from Google, Groupon and Virgin, among others. We here at GetSolar would just like to inform our readers that we were hip to the April Fool’s thang way back in 2009:

A Spain-based firm, Derma-Volt, is developing a suntan lotion that,when applied, will cause the underlying surface to generate electricalcurrent.

The key to the technology lies in the lotion’s highdensity of molecules rich in electropositive elements, like cesium.(Chemistry 101 flashback: Electropositivity is the tendency of atoms to“donate” electrons; elecronegativity is the tendency for atoms to“accept” electrons.) Under normal circumstances, such elements wouldcause serious health hazards. To counteract these risks, Derma-Volt hasdeveloped a proprietary chemical interface, the details of which thefirm declined to release.

A recent round of lab tests confirmed that a square meter of treatedskin is enough to produce 250 milliamperes — or 1/4 an ampere — of DCcurrent. Since the skin of an average person is about 1.5 to 2 squaremeters in size, researchers believe the product may eventually enableindivduals to generate enough power to charge portable electronics likeiPods and GPS units.

“When our technology is ready,” notes Diego Martinez-Velasquez, headresearcher at Derma-Volt, “these devices will be consuming a third — or a quarter — of the electricity they now consume. We think that five years from today, it will completely normal to charge your mobile [phone] byjust going to the beach and relaxing in the sun.”

A challenge remains, however, in collecting and stepping up thecurrent to generate sufficient voltage. Questions also remain on how,exactly, the devices would interface with the human body.

“Where to plug this in?” asks Tara Hubbent-Mendez, an electronicsproduct designer and tech commentator. “There must be new ways to charge these devices. Wires will be a dead end, for sure. If Derma-Voltbecomes huge, wireless charging technology will continue to growgangbusters.”

Happy Friday everyone — have a safe and relaxing weekend!

Special SPF Sun Block Electrifies Skin in Tests, Paves Way for Body Solar Panels

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