Wearable Fabric Could Power Your iPhone and Power Felt gives a charge articles tell that a lightweight, flexible thermoelectric fabric called Power Felt could generate enough electricity from body heat to power a small electronic device, like an iPod, or iPhone.
The Power Felt fabric, composed of carbon nanotube/polymer thin films, was developed by a team headed by researchers at Wake Forest University’s Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials. Power Felt generates an electrical charge from temperature differences, converting thermal to electrical energy.
Comprised of tiny carbon nanotubes locked up in flexible plastic fibers and made to feel like fabric, Power Felt uses temperature differences – room temperature versus body temperature, for instance – to create a charge. The multiple layers are alternating p-type and n-type nanotube/polymer heterogeneous thin films with insulating polymer film layers between conduction layers. he research appears in the current issue of Nano Letters.
The researchers say Power Felt can be considrably less expensive to manufacture, lighter, and easier to process than bismuth telluride. Cost has prevented thermoelectrics from being used more widely in consumer products. The research team hopes to get the price of Power Felt down closer to $1 for a piece about the size of a cellphone cover by producing the fabric in high volumes. There is still lots of work to do before Power Felt is ready for market.