A team of researchers at the University of Southampton are about to develop a new technology that may allow people to power mobile phones, MP3 players and other gadgets through their movement, without the need to change batteries.
They are planning to use active printed inks and rapid printing processes to create an energy harvesting film in textiles. These films will be able to be embedded on carpets, enabling people to produce electricity as they walk around the office or home.
“This project looks at generating electrical power from the way people move and then applying an energy harvesting film to the clothes they wear or the materials they have around them. We will generate useful levels of power which will be harvested through the films in the textiles. The two big challenges in smart textiles are supplying power and surviving washing.” says Dr Beeby, the team leader.
The experiments will begin in October this year and will run until 2015. Researchers aim to improve the process so it can generate energy not only from textiles but also from different fabrics.