Quirks and Quarks·QUIRKS & QUARKS

How your t-shirt could charge your phone

Researchers in the US have developed a material that could be integrated into clothing that can harvest electricity from even small body movements.
Vanderbilt Universty graduate student Kathleen Moyer holds up the guts of the ultrathin energy harvesting device in a glove box. It is so thin it can be embedded in fabric. (John Russell / Vanderbilt)

Even when you're sitting still, you're very rarely actually completely still. You might be twiddling your fingers or tapping your toes. Or bouncing your leg up and down.

Those small motions represent a huge amount of energy. Never mind when people are walking, running or engaged in other, more kinetic activity. 

So, what if we could harvest that energy? And what if the means of collecting that energy wasn't even noticeable, like, something in the fabric of your t-shirt? Or your long johns?

That's exactly the idea behind a technology developed by Dr. Cary Pint, a professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering at Vanderbilt University.

Video courtesy Vanderbilt University

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