Energy creation has been a huge, huge matter over the past few years. Researchers have turned to "green
power" in order to generation electricity from varied renewable resources, but one area that has stumped science for awhile now is the ability to harness energy from movements that we make every day. Imagine if a roadway could generate energy simply by the heat and friction felt from tires passing over it. What if a battery
pack on your body could harness energy from friction produced in your gait? The latter is becoming closer and closer to reality, all thanks to innovative research happening at UC Berkeley.
Researchers at the university have recently made great strides in producing microscopic fibers that can "produce electricity from simple body motions such as bending, stretching and twisting." The cords look a lot like tiny fishing lines, and in theory, they could be woven into fabric and used to enhance clothing that we already wear into energy harnessing garb. Unfortunately, the tech is at least 3 years out from being found in your local clothier, but these nano-fibers could have a huge impact in the consumer and military realm. The U.S. government has reportedly taken interest, supposedly because soldiers wearing uniforms made from this would have to carry a lot less battery equipment to power very simple, but very vital, devices on their person.
Of course, efficiency is still an issue of concern here. It would take around 100000 fibers to produce enough power to keep a watch going, and a million fibers to power an iPod. But when you considering that one million fibers bundled together would only be about the size of a sand grain, it's easy to see that there really could be something here worth pursuing. Moreover, these fibers are flexible and resistant to heat and chemicals, so it would be possible to have these even in jogging suits and you could wash them without worrying about destroying anything.
Maybe the bionic human we've all dreamed about is a new outfit away.