As technology grows more and more advanced, so too does its need for power. Unfortunately for us, batteries haven’t advanced all that much. Not as much as other technology has, at least. Phones used to be able to last for days between charges. Now, even (or perhaps especially) the best smartphones and computer tablets run out of juice in a matter of hours.
We may very well see a solution to this problem in the near future, though, but not in a way you’d think. Instead of designing a new battery, a nanotechnologist named David Carroll and his research group at Wake Forest University has designed a fabric that that produces electricity from heat or movement.
What Carroll calls, the “power felt”, the fabric draws power from both vibrations and movement at the same time. If you were to have this on your pants then you’d be able to charge your smartphone just by walking. The fabric also draws energy from heat. Heat from the sun, heat from your body, heat from your heater; it can use heat from literally anywhere. I wouldn’t try sticking it over a fire or anything, though. It still has its limitations.
The fabric is very flexible and is able to blend in almost seamlessly with regular fabric. Perhaps most importantly, though, is that it’s extremely affordable. Don’t expect it to remove the need for charging, however. The amount of energy it generates is miniscule, but it adds up. While it may not fully charge your smartphone, it may still allow you to squeeze in a few extra hours of battery life.