Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Clothing fabrics that generate electricity from the motion of wearing them have been described by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The inventor, Georgia Tech professor Zhong Lin Wang, has previously described nanogenerators--arrays of nanowires that produce as much as 4 watts/cm3--for powering small electronic devices or to recharge batteries. Wang has also designed nanogenerators to power self-contained sensors that harvest environmental energy thereby eliminating the need for batteries. Alternating pairs of fibers with zinc oxide bristles rub against each other to generate electricity.
Wang's latest invention--fabrics that generate energy from the wearer's motion--are the furthest from commercialization. Besides clothing, the nanogenerating fibers could also be woven into curtains, tents or other structures that capture energy from wind, sound vibration or other mechanical energy.
Posted by R. Colin Johnson at 8:21 AM