(USA)

Researchers at an American university have developed an ultra-thin technology that can generate energy from people as they walk – or even when they’re sitting down.

Thin enough to be woven into fabric, the wearable battery could fit seamlessly in clothes to power mobile phones and other electronic devices. A team at Vanderbilt University‘s Nanomaterials and Energy Devices Laboratory has pioneered the new system – ‘based on battery technology and made from layers of black phosphorus that are only a few atoms thick’ – which generates electricity from the slightest motion.

“In the future, I expect that we will all become charging depots for our personal devices by pulling energy directly from our motions and the environment,” said Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Cary Pint, who directed the research. “Compared to the other approaches designed to harvest energy from human motion, our method has two fundamental advantages. The materials are atomically thin and small enough to be impregnated into textiles without affecting the fabric’s look or feel and it can extract energy from movements that are slower than 10 Hertz–10 cycles per second–over the whole low-frequency window of movements corresponding to human motion.”