Well, what do you know? It turns out, not only our wrist is good for powering a smartwatch; the entire body is a giant-ass battery too. Scientists over at the University of California – San Diego has developed a shirt that harvests and stores energy from the human body which can then be used to power small electronics.
The nanoengineers are calling this new development, “wearable microgrid,” or in longer, more meaningful terms, “self-sustainable wearable multi-modular E-textile bioenergy microgrid system.” You know, ‘grid’ as in ‘power grid’ and micro for the scale.
The technology, which combines energy from the wearer’s sweat and movement, is made up of three main parts: sweat-powered biofuel cells, motion-powered devices known as ‘triboelectric generators’, and supercapacitors for energy storage.
These components are, of course, flexible to be integrated into a regular shirt through screen printing and they are washable.
The researchers have published a report paper on Nature Communications. So, what are the potential applications? Well, according to the published paper, “it can be applied for guiding the development of future miniaturized energy systems based on a judicious selection and integration of different modules toward a variety of self-powered electronics applications.”
Simply put, it could used to powered anything, from flexible ECD pixels display on a clothing to charging small devices. In other words, it could be the future of apparels. Cue all modern sci-fi movies and TV series (excluding the apocalypse-themed ones).
For those who are interested, you can dig into the entire research in all its geeky, nerdy and science-sy glory HERE.
Hat tip: Reddit (u/mvea).