Power is the great unifier. We all need it to do just about everything we do. Whether it’s washing our clothes, filtering our water or, yes, keeping all of our smartphones powered and ready to go, electricity is a staple of modern life. But why can’t we figure out any cheaper and more efficient ways to make it? Solar has shown some promise, and still does, but that train is moving slower than molasses through a puddle of superglue. Luckily, some in the textile industry have had the idea to turn actual fabric and clothing into electrical conductors. Wave of the future, my friends. Wave of the future.
Here is the appropriately named Power Felt. ThisÂ thermoelectric device developed by a team of researchers in theÂ Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular MaterialsÂ could very well revolutionize how we think of clothing. The trick is it is actually not fabric at all, rather it is comprised of tiny nanotubes that are made to feel like fabric. The nanotubes can conduct electricity, turning your every day body heat into useable electricity. Therein lies the awesome.
What kind of potential does this technology? Well in the near term, it could be lined in automobile seats to boost battery power or strewn throughout your house, near pipes, to use up all of that heat and turn it into electricity, thus saving you on energy bills. In the long term? Who knows. The sky is the limit. Maybe it won’t be too long until that old, dirty pair of jeans you(yes you) are currently working can be used to power your car. Wouldn’t that be nice?