The process of collecting low-level kinetic energy, which is present in all moving systems, by using energy harvesting principles, is of particular interest in wearable technology, especially in ultra-low power devices for medical applications. In fact, the replacement of batteries with innovative piezoelectric energy harvesting devices can result in mass and size reduction, favoring the miniaturization of wearable devices, as well as drastically increasing their autonomy. The aim of this work is to assess the power requirements of wearable sensors for medical applications, and address the intrinsic problem of piezoelectric kinetic energy harvesting devices that can be used to power them; namely, the narrow area of optimal operation around the eigenfrequencies of a specific device. This is achieved by using complex numerical models comprising modal, harmonic and transient analyses. In order to overcome the random nature of excitations generated by human motion, novel excitation modalities are investigated with the goal of increasing the specific power outputs. A solution embracing an optimized harvester geometry and relying on an excitation mechanism suitable for wearable medical sensors is hence proposed. The electrical circuitry required for efficient energy management is considered as well.
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