Next to interactive gloves, wearable power is coming into the news on a regular, frequent basis. The latest news I picked up is based on research work at the University of Southampton where scientists aim to generate energy through people’s movement.
In theory human motion generates an estimated 67 watts of energy with each step. This is a lot which easily can supply power to run a notebook or any of the other indispensable electronic pocket devices we carry around.
The challenge is how to collect and transform this power of our body into electrical energy and feed it to our gadgets while we move through our days.
The scientists think the solution is by applying rapid printing processes and active printed inks to create an energy harvesting film on textiles.
‘This project looks at generating electrical power from the way people move and then applying an energy harvesting film to the clothes they wear or the materials they have around them,’ says Dr Steve Beeby, head of the research team. ‘We will generate useful levels of power which will be harvested through the films in the textiles. The two big challenges in smart textiles are supplying power and surviving washing.’
The research into the Microflex project, , a Framework 7 European Union funded project, is set to start in October and runs until 2015.
At the end the project will provide a toolbox of materials and processes suitable for a range of different fabrics that will enable users to develop the energy harvesting fabric best suited to their requirements.
We will keep our eyes clued on this project as we do watch out about other wearable power initiatives. Mostly long term projects but one never looses the hope to get the break through one day soon. Wearable power is a much needed element when it comes to make smart clothing.