Scientists develop a 'fabric' that turns body movement into electricity

Interesting for smart clothes, or to power wearables eventually?

To demonstrate how their prototype fabric could work, the NTU scientists showed how a hand tapping on a 3cm by 4cm piece of the fabric continuously could light up 100 LEDs, or charge various capacitors, which are devices that store electrical energy and are found in devices like mobile phones.


234uW/cm² is pretty good, although it would be nice to see a response curve based on deflection angle, rate of deflection, and any data on how much energy it’s getting from the triboelectric effects (if it’s even 1% of the total).

The tough part for wearables is going to be energy storage. Even if you’re willing to put a lithium ion battery in a pouch sewn into a shirt near the small of your back, the intermittent power from energy harvesting sources like these are unsuitable to charge it. You need a significant capacitor bank to absorb those spikes and regulate the charge down to a point where a battery management system can safely charge the battery. Then you’ll need to integrate an impact resistant case into the garment so the cell doesn’t get perforated and explode.

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I knew you’d be the one to ask a lot of relevant questions :slight_smile: