Wear Your Self-Powered Generator
A unique materal that can produce and store electricity from body movement is being prototyped at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.
"We wanted to utilise the soft fibre-based devices to convert solar energy or motion energy into electricity," says Zhong Lin Wang, 55, who worked
on the study.
Using cylindrica [sic] dye-sensitised solar cells and nanogenerator fibres which create energy when rubbed together, the material can harvest power from the Sun or its wearer's movement. They suggest it could one day be incorporated in the designs of watch straps, bracelets or even T-shirts.
The bad news? The prototype is still "four to five years" from full production. "Performance and robustness were challenges," says Wang. And then there are the hygiene issues. "Anything you put in a washing machine will be destroyed."
Science fiction fans recall the stillsuit from Frank Herbert's 1965 novel Dune made use of the body's own mechanical energy to provide power for the suit, which captured perspiration and other body moisture and processed it for reuse.
It's basically a micro-sandwich; a high-efficiency filter and heat-exchange system. The skin-contact layer is porous. Perspiration passes through it, having cooled the body. Motions of the body, especially breathing, and [heel-powered pumps] provide the pumping force. With a Fremen suit in good working order, you won't lose more than a thimbleful of moisture a day...
(Read more about the dune stillsuit)
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