Do you still remember those days when you could go for at least three days without having to worry about how much battery juice you still had on your mobile phone? I do, but the memory is quickly fading. Anyone with a smartphone has probably lamented, at least once, about how often he or she has to plug it in. I know people who do not last half a day without having to resort to an additional battery pack.
It sure is a “first world problem”, but having a smartphone really does make you overly concerned about having access to power. Otherwise, you’ll just have a brick in your hands.
Unsurprisingly, scientists have been looking at ways to provide solutions that will be as convenient as possible. One of these is the result of the work of some guys at Wake Forest University.
They call it Power Felt, and it looks like it just might appeal to people who are always on the go. The technology is based on a thermoelectric device which works by converting body heat to electricity. Power Felt takes advantage of what is called the Seebeck effect, which is the process whereby fluctuations in temperature are converted into electricity, and vice versa. The device is made of carbon nanotubes covered in plastic. The resulting product looks and feels like fabric, hence the name.
The concept is not a novel one and has been explored by others in the past. What the Wake Forest guys have accomplished is more feasible and applicable in real situations, though. More than having the capability to charge smartphones, Power Felt can be used in emergency situations to charge flashlights, radios, and so on.
The best news of all? Power Felt will not cost an arm and a leg. They say that a smartphone Power Felt cover may cost as little as $1. Now that is something to look forward to!