Clothes may soon be providing an energy boost – as well as a confidence boost. That’s because scientists in America are making textile electronics to transform threads into energy suits that provide electricity.
Researchers, led by materials scientist Trisha Andrew at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, have made electrodes that fit seamlessly into fabric and can supply energy to small electrical devices.
“Our lab works on textile electronics,” said Trisha. “We aim to build up the materials science so you can give us any garment you want, any fabric, any weave type, and turn it into a conductor. Such conducting textiles can then be built up into sophisticated electronics. One such application is to harvest body motion energy and convert it into electricity in such a way that every time you move, it generates power.”
And generating power is one of the main goals.
“We’re working on taking any garment you give us and turning it into a solar cell so that as you are walking around the sunlight that hits your clothes can be stored in a battery or be plugged in to power a small electronic device,” added Trisha.