Written on Tuesday, November 06, 2007 by Gemini
Imagine being able to use electronic devices by simply plugging them in to your clothing. If some scientists in Australia have their way, that’s just what you’ll be doing in the future.
--- Picture: An illustration of the Flexible Integrated Energy Device (FIED) showing the flexible batteries ---
Researchers from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) are developing a new technology called the ‘Flexible Integrated Energy Device’ (FIED) that could have a range of applications, from military to medical.
Principal research scientist with CSIRO’s Energy Technology Division, Dr Adam Best, said the technology would be incorporated into a piece of clothing and would comprise three components: Advanced, conductive fabrics as part of the battery; a vibration energy harvesting device; and a rectifier/power management system to power electronic equipment.“It will look like an ordinary garment, but will have extraordinary capabilities,” Best said. “As the person wearing the garment moves, the vibrations they create can be harvested and channelled into recharging the battery or powering plug-in electronic device or devices.”
“We have combined the areas of energy harvesting, energy storage and advanced fibre development to create the integrated battery technology,” he added. The device will be used to store and provide energy over a continuous period of time. It can be charged by plugging into an electrical power point or through vibration energy harvesting.
“This kind of technology has important applications for soldiers in the field and could mean they no longer need to carry heavy batteries,” Dr Best said. “Essentially, they’d be wearing the battery,” he said. There are a range of other civilian applications for the FIED, including communication devices such as radios and mobile phones, small electronic devices including MP3 players, and sports wear.
The researchers say it could also be used in medical devices such as vital sign monitoring systems.