As cellphone addicts, we all know the feeling of dread when you leave the house and realize your battery is low. What if instead of running to the nearest outlet, all you had to do was a quick set of jumping jacks? Wake Forest University scientists have developed “Power Felt,”a thermoelectric device that converts body heat into an electrical current.
Power Felt works its magic by harnessing what’s known as the “Seebeck effect,” the conversion of temperature fluctuations into electricity and vice versa. Composed of tiny carbon nanotubes encased in flexible plastic fibers, the material is designed to look and feel like fabric. Potential innovations, researchers note, include automobile seats that boost battery power, pipe and roof insulation for lowering gas or electric bills, high-tech clothing or sports gear to monitor athletic performance, and “smart” bandages that track patients’ medical needs.
Power Felt works its magic by harnessing what’s known as the “Seebeck effect,” the conversion of temperature fluctuations into electricity.