Energy-Generating Clothes Absorb the Elements

run outdoors photo

Photo: lululemon athletica/Flickr, Creative Commons

Scientists at the University of Bolton in the U.K. are developing a textile fiber, called hybrid photovoltaic-piezoelectric material, that absorbs energy from its wearer's body movements and the surrounding elements, including the wind, rain, and sun -- Captain Planet would be proud! Ecouterre reports:

trees and clouds photo

Photo: twoblueday/Flickr
Although piezoelectric materials, which convert kinetic stress to power, can be found in movement-powered watches, highways, and dance floors, most of them are too rigid to be useful in garments. The Bolton team claims to have found a way around that, creating a durable yet malleable material that generates electricity from the environment.

The research team is set to start producing samples of the hybrid photovoltaic-piezoelectric material using equipment bought through £1 million funding from The Knowledge Centre for Materials Chemistry (KCMC).

According to Elias Siores, the university's director of research, to be woven into everything, including laptop and mobile phone cases, meaning the appliance could power those electronic devices.

Now that would make for a truly functional wardrobe.

Read more at Ecouterre and University of Bolton.

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