Smart fabric generates electricity

SUWON, SOUTH KOREA (REUTERS/SUNGYUNGKWAN UNIVERSITY)- Wearable technology is said to be the future.

But how to keep devices charged could be a problem.

Now South Korean researchers say they have a solution – a ‘smart’ fabric that generates electricity.

Just tapping the fabric – known as a wearable triboelectric nanogenerator – can power a range of devices

Professor Kim Sang-Woo led the research.

PROFESSOR AT SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MATERIALS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING AT SUNGKYUNKWAN UNIVERSITY,KIM SANG-WOO,

“People try to remove static electricity in daily life and attempts to use it as an energy source were quite limited. That’s why we started this research, to use static electricity as an energy source.”

The layers of silver-coated textile rub against an organic polymer film.

And the researchers have shown the electricity created from this friction can power lights, screens – and more.

PROFESSOR AT SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MATERIALS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING AT SUNGKYUNKWAN UNIVERSITY, KIM SANG-WOO,

“With this energy, we can power Light Emitting Diodes and Liquid Crystal displays without an external power source, as well as demonstrating low-power devices like sensors.”

The developers see their ‘smart’ fabric connecting people to the everyday products they use.

PROFESSOR AT SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MATERIALS SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING AT SUNGKYUNKWAN UNIVERSITY,KIM SANG-WOO,

“If technologies for the Internet of the Things develop more in the future, various sensors could be attached to human skin. The fabric could be an independent power source for those sensors.”

The foldable fabric is much more wearable than a bulky battery.

So charging your phone as you walk could be a step closer to reality.