Forget grades of wool—the clothing of the future's going to be measured in millivolts. Researchers at UC-Berkeley have created electricity-generating nanofibers that could someday be woven into your clothing.
The fibers are about 100 times thinner than a human hair, but can generate electrical outputs of up to 30 millivolts. Even better, their piezoelectric properties allow them to mechanical stress and twisting into electricity:
Although they are still working out the exact calculations, the researchers noted that more vigorous movements, such as the kind one would create while dancing the electric boogaloo, should theoretically generate more power. "And because the nanofibers are so small, we could weave them right into clothes with no perceptible change in comfort for the user," said Lin, who is also co-director of the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center at UC Berkeley.
This isn't the first exploration into wearable nanogenerators, but it's the only attempt so far at using an organic material, in this case polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). It's a cheaper, more flexible solution that has a better shot at being productized. If it is, you'd conceivably be able to power your gadgets from your t-shirt. Wait... does that mean the Feel Bright Light Visor wasn't such a bad idea after all? [UC Berkeley]