TouchPower: Interaction-based Power Transfer for Power-as-needed Devices

Sep 19th, 2017

(Ubicomp’17, discussion paper) Tengxiang Zhang, Xin Yi, Chun Yu, Yuntao Wang, Nicholas Becker, Yuanchun Shi
The trend toward ubiquitous deployment of electronic devices demands novel low maintenance power schemes to decrease
the burden of maintaining such a large number of devices. In this paper, we propose Interaction-based Power Transfer (IPT): a
novel power scheme for power-as-needed devices (i.e., devices that only require power during interaction). IPT allows for the
removal of built-in batteries on these devices, and to instead be powered up through direct contact interaction with the user
(e.g. gripping a mouse, holding a pen).We prove the concept and show the potential of IPT through our TouchPower prototype.
TouchPower transfers on-body power to off-body power-as-needed devices through contact between electrodes on a glove
worn by the user and those on the target device during the interaction process. We design TouchPower to automatically
detect the contact topology at runtime to supply power accordingly, and place electrodes on the glove so that TouchPower
is compatible with various interactions with different objects. We also show the methodology of placing electrodes on the
device-end, and evaluate it on a mouse and a remote controller. Results show that during interaction, TouchPower is able
to provide stable power supply to these devices with only a small sacrifice in regards to interaction naturalness. At last we
demonstrate six applications of TouchPower, and discuss the limitations and potential of TouchPower and IPT systems.
[Video] [Paper]