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Call me Sparky - new fabric uses sweat to make electricity


Sweetheart of the Rodeo
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Mt first thought was Texans could generate a lot of electricity most of the year.

There has been a lot of advancement in performance fabrics over the last decade. Exercise clothing is made to move with us, help moderate our temperatures and wick away sweat to keep us comfortable. Researchers at Binghampton University have developed a fabric that could fit those needs, but it would also do something with the sweat it absorbs -- generate electricity.

Well, it's not the sweat exactly so much as the bacteria in the sweat. The novel fabric works as a microbial fuel cell and stores the energy it makes like a biobattery.

The fabric is flexible and stretchable which would make it suitable for athletic wear or even just everyday clothing. In testing, it has proven stable through repeated stretching and twisting cycles.

“There is a clear and pressing need for flexible and stretchable electronics that can be easily integrated with a wide range of surroundings to collect real-time information,” said Professor Seokheun Choi.

I'm not sure about collecting "real time information" because it reminds me of the FitBit fiasco. I have to admit I was going in a different direction, such as powering a weed-eater or an electric bicycle, which seems perfect to me - the more you use it, the more you sweat, and the more you use it.

I'm interested to see how it might be used, but not if I'm going to appear on some Google Earth map.


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