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Electric Generator Fabric – power your stuff by rustling your armpits


Zhong Lin Wang and his boffin colleagues at Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a type of electricity generating fibres which produce power when rubbed together. Nope it’s not just static electricity, they’re producing proper usable juice, albeit at very low levels right now. The idea is to produce a fabric that could  power our personal gadgets as we walk around, simply through the movement of the clothing. It’s extremely early days, but who knows, one day we may all end up as real live power dressers.

 Because so far the biggest system made has comprised only six fibres, it is hard for Wang to estimate how much walking we are going to have to do to fire up our iPods, but the team estimates that a square metre of material could produce between 20 and 80 milliwatts of power from normal mechanical vibrations such as footsteps. That is still far short of the amount of power required to illuminate a standard light bulb — around 60 Watts — and a mobile phone, which needs about 1–3 Watts.

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