With the effects of mass commercialization, the plethora of electronic devices that are being used daily including cell phones, MP3 players and iPods are certainly increasing both in their reach and availability. But for the average consumer their charging facilities end with their lack of mobility, because of predominance of conventional (and inflexible) charging outlets. This is where energy generating garments enter into the picture with their special advantage of intrinsic portability. This alludes to the ultimate mode of user convenience, as one can fluently keep in touch with technology, powered and facilitated by the very personal attire he/she is wearing.
Taking this enhanced practicality into account, let us check out 5 innovative nanotechnology-based garments that can power our ever trusty gadgets.
1. Orange Sound Charge T-Shirt
Making use of the more basic and rather novel sound energy has always been the ‘holy grail’ for researchers. This time telecommunication giant Orange has managed to devise a system (embedded inside a t-shirt) that literally converts sound energy to electric charge. By reversing the mechanism of a thin piezoelectric film, the setup was installed within the shirt. The sound waves (from the surrounding air) were absorbed and then passed through a layer of compressed quartz crystals, to be converted to electricity. The resultant charge was then stored in a battery system and could be transmitted to phone sets via an interchangeable lead.
2. Electricity-Generating T-Shirts
James Hargreaves surely would have been proud of this, because researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas have come up with a ingenious method that allows them spin yarns right out of superconducting particles such as boron and magnesium. Such particles in their powder form can be embedded inside carbon nano-tubes, which in turn can be weaved together to form a textile component. The end product can dually act as a battery medium (for energy storage) as well as wearable clothing. The powder will add to the bulk of the overall weight of the clothing, but as they remain 'hidden' within the nano-tubes, they would be unaffected by washing.
3. Day-for-Night solar dress
Contrived by one Despina Papadopoulos, this glaringly glittering dress is composed from 448 square white circuit board tiles. Each one of these tiles is infused with paraphernalia of a solar cell, a photocell and jumper connectors. There is a hidden control mechanism inside the dress that can be connected to a computer via an USB port. The main functionality of the dress is to absorb solar energy during morning, which can again be emitted back (from the storage system) during a night party. And to accentuate upon the user convenience, the whole garment is made modular, which allows flexible adding (or subtracting) of the circuit tiles to regulate the overall generation of energy.
4. Solar powered bikini to charge gadgets
World renowned German lingerie manufacturer Triumph has surely proved that advanced technology can be 'sexy'. Debuting at the “Triumph Fashion Cup” in Valencia, Spain, this gorgeous bikini comes with straps of solar cells fixed over the fabric. There is also a visible jack around the pelvic region, which can easily charge our daily used small devices from the harvested solar power.
5. Diffus Solar Handbag
Instead of integrating conspicuous (and seemingly ugly) elements of solar cells onto the surface, here the designers from Diffus along with Alexandra Institute and Swiss embroidery specialists Forster Rohne, have tried to go the artistic way. In this exclusive bag, they have managed to incorporate 100 miniaturized monocrystalline silicon braids that create a harmoniously sublime pattern of petite squares on the cover. With adequate sunlight, this embroidered system can generate sufficient power for charging a smart phone. Moreover, there is a lithium-ion battery pack inside the bag for storage of energy, which also helps in emanating a subtle glow during the night time.