How many times have you been out and ya mate Steveo does something hilarious, but your phone dies before you can take a sneaky snap? Every. Damn. Time. If only there were some kind of clothing that harvested the power of the sun and your movement, stored it, then allowed you to charge your phone with it.
Well the future is looking bright, ‘cos scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology have crafted a fabric that gathers and stores that energy within its fibres. Fuck bulky battery packs, this is a battery you can actually wear. It uses dye-sensitised solar cells that are shaped into long, noodley fibres to soak up the sun, fibre-shaped triboelectric nanogenerators to store the electrostatic charge you make when moving and fibre-shaped supercapacitors to store it all.
In an age where we are wearing more technology and lugging around battery-munching smartphones, this kind of technology will help pave the way to further wearable technology that doesn’t need an external power source.
Let’s be clear though, you can’t pick one of these up in the next couple of week, the science still has a fair way to go. At this stage, they’ve successfully created a 225-square-centimetre piece energy harvesting fabric with the flexibility of that stupid straw hat you bought at Splendour in the Grass. The aim is to get the material down to the thickness of a normal fabric so it feels less like a hessian bag, and more like an actual wearable piece of clothing.
And it’s been a long bloody haul, with one team of scientists working on the early-stage technology for about 11 years, which could be a bit of bummer when one of the first applications is a cringeworthy LED shirt they sell exclusively at festivals. The best and most obvious application is having the energy flow into your smartphone and wearable tech so you’ll never miss getting a picture of Steveo mooning the 962 bus ever again.
Source: Los Angeles Times.