Hills, a Florida-based company, has just made a significant breakthrough with the creation of a machine that makes nanostructured fibers. The fibers, which can be arranged in regular patterns and be made of 3 different materials, could provide the basis for a program aimed at developing multifunctional uniforms - functions that would include the production and storage of electrical energy. Metals could be processed to make conducting fibers and paired with a variety of inorganic materials used in the creation of fuel cells and photovoltaics to create rechargeable batteries.
This would be accomplished by inserting positive/negative battery electrodes and electrolytes into the nanostructured fibers - which could then be woven into the uniforms. An interesting idea proposed by one scientist would consist of making fibers from viruses engineered to bind to and structure inorganic materials. The endless number of cross-sectional patterns made possible by the machine will likely result in the creation of many novel uniform designs. Let's hope this technology eventually makes its way into civilian clothing - in one form or another.
Via ::Technology Review: Weaving Batteries into Clothes (magazine)
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