A smartwatch that uses body heat to recharge – sounds too good to be true

We’ve never been convinced by the smartwatch trend, as it continues to disappoint month after month, but every now and then a feature crops up which might turn out to be quite useful.

PowerWatch will start shipping this month (November), and it has one feature which certainly has the potential to cut through the mundane noise which is being made by the other manufacturers; the watch runs off your body heat. Obviously there is an option to charge in the more traditional manner, but put it on your wrist and the battery will start to fill up depending on how many degrees is radiating from your skin.

The idea is based on thermoelectric power. The technology itself has been around for quite a while, though has been primarily used in very niche areas due to the cost/benefit ratio (i.e. there generally isn’t a positive one), such as the NASA space program. Matrix Industries, the manufacturers of the PowerWatch, has said due to the advent of low-power electronics, it felt it was the right time to use the thermoelectric technology for a consumer product.

And priced at $169, there is every chance the product could make a splash. Of course there are the standard features you tend to see on every smartwatch (calorie and step counter, sleep tracker, water resistance etc.), but we don’t really care about those; the body heat recharger is a genuine USP and you don’t see many genuine USPs in the hardware market anymore.

Just to be clear, we haven’t had a chance to look at the product, so any claims on body heat recharging are taken on the word of Matrix Industries, but should the technology prove to be successful, it could be the first step of a genuine breakthrough for mobile devices. Battery power and performance is an area which has seen little progress over the last couple of years, however incorporating these thermoelectric ideas into the any new design would certainly be of interest to various smartphone manufacturers around the world.

Obviously the power and performance demands of a smartwatch is nothing compared to a smartphone, however new ideas in the battery segment of the tech world are far and few between. This could be one worth keeping an eye on.

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