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posted by cmn32480 on Thursday December 03 2015, @11:08PM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-touch-your-zipper dept.

Industrial design researchers at Brunel University London have solved two of the major challenges which prevent everyday items of clothing being turned into power sources for smartphones, tablets and other personal tech.

Technology to produce supercapacitor thread capable of being made into cloth has been around for some time. But until now scientists have been unable to make it provide sufficient voltage for most devices or devise a method to produce it economically outside the lab.

Now patented breakthroughs made by colleagues Professors David Harrison and John Fyson, Dr Yanmeng Xu, Dr Fulian Qiu and Ruirong Zhang of Brunel's Department of Design mean thread capable of storing and supplying enough power for common devices and of being manufactured at industrial scale are a reality.

It seems there could be more fun uses for this than charging iPhones.


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  • (Score: 2) by Snow on Friday December 04 2015, @12:31AM

    by Snow (1601) on Friday December 04 2015, @12:31AM (#271632) Journal

    What about the environmental cost of extracting the ore, shipping it, refining it, shipping it, processing it, shipping it, and finally manufacturing it into the textile item only to be worn once a week?

    Then we just throw it in the landfill when the elbow wears out or the colour fades. I don't know, maybe it is better. Maybe not though.

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  • (Score: 2) by edIII on Friday December 04 2015, @01:14AM

    by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 04 2015, @01:14AM (#271646)

    I'm thinking that the clothing is going to be a little more resilient and closer to jackets and whatnot. At the very least, it should be recyclable, or the whole idea should be scrapped.

    Yeah, there is the environmental impact of creating it in the first place. The question is if it's adequately offset by the decreased emissions of power generation I guess.

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    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by dyingtolive on Friday December 04 2015, @04:45AM

      by dyingtolive (952) on Friday December 04 2015, @04:45AM (#271696)

      Why stop there? What about shoes or garments that can be worn regardless of weather? I'm also picturing headbands or something like an armband, you know, something that can be worn even in summer, unlike a jacket in a lot of locations/seasons.

      Personally, I've always been interested in "wearables", as I've said before, but I think I need more than 1.5v (the voltage the article gets excited about) to be excited myself. It depends on fabric quantity per 1.5v maybe. Cost is also obviously a factor too. A combination of the previously covered radioactive battery and this tech might be fascinating.

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      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04 2015, @09:18AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04 2015, @09:18AM (#271742)

        Shouldn't you get higher voltage by simply putting several of those things in serial?

        • (Score: 2) by dyingtolive on Friday December 04 2015, @03:11PM

          by dyingtolive (952) on Friday December 04 2015, @03:11PM (#271808)

          Well, yeah, I would think so. Which makes the way the article gets excited about it strange. Thing is, we also don't know how much material it takes to get 1.5V. Usefulness could change radically depending on if it's a square inch or a square foot.

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