Scientists at Wake Forest’s Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials are working on “Power Felt”: a thermoelectric cloth that converts heat into electricity. The group is using carbon nanotubes (cylindrical molecules of interconnected carbon atoms) to create a flexible fabric that can be made into covers for cell phones, flashlights, radios, and other electronics. The method is cheaper than other thermoelectric solutions, which use bismuth telluride.
They’re currently searching for investors to bring the technology to market. This is still early in the process, but the potential for thermoelectric power to be created cheaply and efficiently thanks to developments in nanotechnology is very exciting. Imagine being a human battery, producing power from your clothing. We’re not there yet, but it’s certainly in the realm of the possible.