Long battery life is one of the hottest topics in mobile technology — which devices have it, how users can achieve it, who can deliver it best without adding bulk and weight. Battery technology and innovation hasn’t kept pace with our increasingly mobile world. And that isn’t even taking into account the special needs of mobile users in locations where electricity from a grid is hard or impossible to come by.
In the past few years I’ve seen several solutions to this that usually involve some sort of green or greenish solution like solar-powered cases, bags, laptop lids, hydro-powered backup batteries, even devices that generate electricity from everyday movement like walking. Mashable has a post up today about a group of researchers working on a sort of similar idea: fabric that converts personal heat into electricity.
They created something called Power Felt, which is made from carbon nanotubes and can potentially find its way into clothing or car seats.
Just picture a coat or jacket you’d wear in Fall or Winter with Power Felt lining and inside pockets for your smartphone or MP3 player. The pockets would have inductive charging elements so you wouldn’t need to plug anything in, just slide the device in your pocket.
Heck, if you had a ScotteVest you could charge up a bunch of gadgets at once, even an iPad.
In the summer you won’t want a heavy jacket, but perhaps your jeans could work the thermoelectric magic.
Think of all the heat you generate as you exercise by running, working the elliptical, or biking. If your shirt could wick away sweat and store heat as electricity you could generate enough to power your gadgets for hours beyond the actual workout.
The possibilities are vast, but it could be a while before we see practical applications. According to Mashable the research team behind this is in talks with investors right now. Click over there to see the video and learn more.