Researchers at Berkeley have created what they call energy-scavenging nanofibers that could be woven into clothing. These fibers have piezoelectric properties, which means that if you bend them, they produce an electric current.
“This technology could eventually lead to wearable ‘smart clothes’ that can power hand-held electronics through ordinary body movements,” said Liwei Lin, UC Berkeley professor of mechanical engineering, in a press release. Lin is the head of the international research team that developed the fiber nanogenerators.
Let’s be clear, though: Your personal body movement, even when running at full speed, don’t create enough energy to power a typical computer chip. The nanogenerators would need a new kind of nanochip that could run off the super-low current generated by your movements. Hewlett-Packard researchers believe they have the technology to take CPU size below that possible through current laser-etching techniques. But a circuit board that could be powered by walking around would need to be even smaller.