Shirts that would directly power mobile devices
October 28th, 2007

Similar to Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #186 story of Power Walking: A Backpack that Charges Your iPod? , yet different enough to merit it’s own post here are work being done by Australian researchers to create shirts that will generate electricity whenever the wearer moves .

“…The effort has been given a boost by the Defence Department awarding his team $4.4 million to show that the technology is feasible.

Dr Best, of the CSIRO’s Energy Technology Division, predicted the first power shirts – or flexible integrated energy devices – could be developed within five years.

The secret behind the idea involves piezo electrical materials. “Whenever you bend or deform piezo electrical material it creates an electrical charge.”

If a shirt could be woven from the fabric, the constant vibration would “produce electricity as you move”.

The power would be fed into flexible batteries that would also be woven into the shirt. Appliances, including mobile phones and palm pilots could then be plugged into the shirt.

The technology could revolutionise appliances such as mobile phones. By adding printed flexible circuit boards, they, too, could be woven into clothing.”

I guess the other thing shirts, and maybe, pants, that generate power might do…is encourage us to move more often, thereby keeping us more fit and active (to keep our mobile devices on) and lower our dependence of batteries and power outlets at Starbucks (where we often need to locate ourselves so we can work for more than 2 hours without laptop battery running out of juice).

I almost wish we could just move around our apartments and houses and generate energy that way – store it up and lower power bills – oh well….that’s probably a pipe dream… but who knows?

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