Wake Forest graduate student Corey Hewitt is helping to develop a new type of fabric designed to generate enough electrtricity to power hand held devices using tempurature differences between ambient air and body temps.
It’s hoped that by using nanotechnology fibers impregnated within the Power Felt fabric, body heat alone could be enough to eliminate the need for the user to ever need to plug in their hand held smartphones or music players ever again.
Comprised of tiny carbon nanotubes locked up in flexible plastic fibers and made to feel like fabric, Power Felt uses temperature differences – room temperature versus body temperature, for instance – to create a charge.
Corey is quoted as saying: “We waste a lot of energy in the form of heat. For example, recapturing a car’s energy waste could help improve fuel mileage and power the radio, air conditioning or navigation system,” Hewitt says. “Generally thermoelectrics are an underdeveloped technology for harvesting energy, yet there is so much opportunity.”
Potential uses for Power Felt include lining automobile seats to boost battery power and service electrical needs, insulating pipes or collecting heat under roof tiles to lower gas or electric bills, lining clothing or sports equipment to monitor performance, or wrapping IV or wound sites to better track patients’ medical needs.
If this technology hits the market, the possibilities would be immense. Think of all the ways this fabric could be used to not only recharge battery powered devices but power small diagnostics.
Currently Wake Forest is in talks with investors to produce Power Felt commercially.
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