South Korean researchers develop electricity-generating 'smart fabric' which could power wearable tech
Researchers in South Korea have developed a "smart fabric" capable of generating electricity to power wearable devices and smartphones.
"People try to remove static electricity in daily life and attempts to use it as an energy source were quite limited,” said Professor Kim Sang-Woo, lead researcher and professor at the School of Advanced Materials Science and Engineering at Sungkyunkwan University.
“That's why we started this research, to use static electricity as an energy source."
Researchers said that electricity is generated by layers of silver-coated textile and organic polymer film rubbing together.
"With this energy, we can power Light Emitting Diodes and Liquid Crystal displays without an external power source, as well as demonstrating low-power devices like sensors,” said Kim.
"If technologies for the 'Internet of the Things' develop more in the future, various sensors could be attached to human skin,” he added.
“The fabric could be an independent power source for those sensors."
Wearable technology is becoming big business. Apple began accepting pre-orders for its much-anticipated Watch, which also serves as a fitness and health tracker, on Friday.
This month, Xiaomi, China's largest domestic smartphone brand, announced it was teaming up with sportswear maker Li-Ning to make "smart" running shoes, powered by technology based on the Mi Fitness Band.