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Smart Clothing Would be Capable of Powering Smart Watch

  • Author:Abby
  • Release on :2015-03-23

A team of researchers in Australia and Korea recently published their findings of a new fabric material that may generate enough power from simple physical movements to fuel small electronic devices. The fabric, which uses a set of thin fabric layers to produce electricity from friction (similar to static electricity), generates up to 170V and 120μA, enough to power a small LCD screen. The fabric's maximum power generation is around 1.1 mW. For context, a 3000mAh battery could theoretically be recharged in about 7 hours using this method.

In short, while power output is variable, smart clothing using this technology would easily be capable of powering smart watches and other wearable devices for a very long time. Even if the clothing would not power such a device completely, extending the battery life significantly for any smart watch would vastly increase its utility. Alternatively, it could also be used to allow for far greater wearable device functionality with the same or similar device life. The team demonstrated several applications – wirelessly opening a car door, powering LEDs and powering a small LCD screen – that did not require an additional energy source.

While the “nanogenerators” and the clothing to host them in are likely a long way from commercial production, there are several aspects to the paper that make this more hopeful than other potential technologies. First, the fabric was still generating the same amount of electricity after more than 12,000 cycles. Second, while the energy output is similar to that of a small solar cell, movement-based energy generation does not depend on sunlight or ideal weather conditions, making it more reliable.