Solving the Power Problem: The Human Body as a Power Supply (Energy Harvesting & Storage USA 2015)

Mr Tom Snyder, Director, Industry Programs
North Carolina State University
United States

Presentation Summary

The wearables and IoT markets are exploding, but have some underlying challenges. Primary among them is how to power the many sensors in all these devices. Eventually all batteries need to be recharged and replaced. In the ASSIST Center at NC State University, researchers are addressing this challenge through development of energy harvesters that convert our body heat and motion to electricity to power battery-free, wearable health and environmental exposure sensors. This talk will outline thermoelectric and piezoelectric research progress and describe what is already possible today.

Speaker Biography (Tom Snyder)

Tom Snyder connects industry interests with university research at the ASSIST Center (; @ASSISTCenter), headquartered at North Carolina State University. ASSIST is focused on improving societal health through development of nanotechnology-based, self-powered, wearable sensors to enable correlation of environmental and physiological signals for data-driven health management. This role keeps him closely tied to cutting edge research and systems engineering design.
As part of the Center, Tom engages regularly with large and small companies to assess research and technology needs and market trends. While the ASSIST Center primary deliverable is towards healthcare, Tom's role includes finding parallel applications of technologies across other markets and for the military. He additionally helps small businesses navigate Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer opportunities to advance critical research towards market viability.
Prior to his university post, Tom spent two decades leading international teams in innovating and patenting advances in portable electronics for world-leading consumer electronics brand companies. He's passionate about creating and fostering collaborations across disciplines, markets, time zones and cultures. He enjoys time outside, woodworking, playing games, big crowds, craft beer and ideas that are just crazy enough to work.

Company Profile (ASSIST ERC)

The Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies (ASSIST) is a National Science Foundation sponsored Nanosystems Engineering Research Center (NERC). ASSIST develops and employs nanotechnology enabled energy harvesting and storage, ultra-low power electronics, and sensors to create innovative, battery-free, body-powered, and wearable health monitoring systems. Our mission is to use nanotechnology to improve global health by enabling a correlation between personal health and personal environment that empowers individuals and doctors to manage wellness and improve quality of life.
View ASSIST ERC Timeline