A fascination with movie technology that showed robots perform self-repair through a liquid formula inspired a Purdue University professor to make his own discoveries — which are now helping to lead the way for advancements in self-powering devices such as consumer electronics and defense innovations.

The Purdue team, led by Wenzhuo Wu, the Ravi and Eleanor Talwar Rising Star Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering, has created wearable technology to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy.

“Our work presents an important step toward the practical realization of self-powered, human-integrated technologies,” Wu said.

The Purdue team invented a liquid-metal-inclusion based triboelectric nanogenerator, called LMI-TENG. Triboelectric energy harvesting transducers — devices which help conserve mechanical energy and turn it into power — are predicted to be a $480 million market by 2028, according to IDTechEx.

Read more at Purdue University