Seems like the battery version of the humans seen in Matrix, generating electricity for the machines isn’t that far fetched. PhD student Corey Hewit from Center of Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials, Wake Forest University has devised an easy way of harnessing human body heat and converting it into electrical energy to charge our devices on the go.
The new thermoelectric material called Power Felt is composed of Carbon nano-tubes interlaced with flexible plastic fibres. The fabric then uses the temperature difference provided by the body heat and outside environment to generate electricity and can be woven into human wearable clothes which may be quite comfortable but even with 72 such pieces of fabric stacked together that is said to be very thin, researchers could only produce 140 nano-watts of energy.
To bring into perspective how small an amount of energy this is, consider the fact that an iPhone uses about million times more energy while its in the idle mode. But, scientists are confident that they can increase the power potential of this fabric for practical use in near future.
If that is true Power Felt can be of great use. Not only can it then harness body heat but can be used around insulation pipes, under car’s body work, beneath the roof tiles etc. and as it is a Felt fabric it can be mass produced lowering the production cost significantly, replacing expensive thermoelectrics such as devices made from bismuth telluride.