Wearables, and I would consider cell phones as part of them, have their Achille's heel in the ned for power. Batteries are making progress, electronics is also becoming less power hungry but we are still far from a really satisfactory solution. What we would like is to forget about batteries and recharge, a wearable should look like your dress in terms of "maintenance" and "operation". You you need to take care of your dress, washing it after a day or a week, depending on the kind of dress. But you are not obsess on its maintenance as you are wearing it.
Having the possibility of "forgetting" about the power aspect would be a significant step in making wearable .... wearable!
This is were this news from scientists at Sungkyunkwan University that reports in the ACS Nano Journal on the development of a flexible, durable, cloth that can convert mechanical energy resulting from human motion into electrical energy that can power wearable.
The scientists are exploiting progress in triboelectrict nano generators (TNG) a new scientific area that is fuelled by the convergence of nanotech, smart materials and electronics.
The cloth was created by overlaying 4 layers of textile covered by nanorods and silicon based organic material. The test have shown that this TNG can resist to over 12,000 mechanical events (folding, pressure) and provides sufficient energy to power sensors, leds and a liquid crystal display.
TNG so far has required the use of "plastic" materials and these do not fit well in clothes. What the scientists have been able to do was to use cloth like materials to create a TNG.
So let's get ready to ask when buying a new jacket: how much power can it generate?