Wearable Power Pocket charges mobile devices with body and heat energyJune 14, 2013 6 Email article | Print article
The world is filled with zany technology. As global technology advances, so does the way we interact with it, naturally. Despite advances, there are still a few limitations that we just can’t seem to overcome. Energy consumption, for example, is one such issue. Electronic devices need power or juice to operate, that much is obvious. Unfortunately, that leaves us constantly worrying about a charger, or in a worst case scenario running out of juice in the moment.
What if we could harness the energy of our bodies and use it to charge our smartphones or tablets? Vodafone is actually going to trial prototype phone-charging technology at the Isle of Wight festival this weekend that does just that.
The Power Pocket is charging technology meshed with unique fabric material that uses the temperature differences between a person’s body and the exterior environment to generate a low-power current. This temperature contrast is referred to as the Seebeck effect.
The unique technology behind the Power Pocket was developed by the University of Southampton’s Electronics and Computer Science Department. The University of Southampton’s Professor of Electronic Systems, Steve Beeby says:
“Basically, we’re printing down pairs of what are called ‘thermocouples. You print lots of those down and connect them up to make a thermoelectric module.”
The technology can be implemented in several different ways to charge various devices. For example, it can be included in the back pocket of a pair of jeans, or it can even be added to a sleeping bag. In fact, that’s exactly what Vodafone has done, they’ve added the technology to a pair of shorts called Power Shorts, and a sleeping bag called Recharge. According to Beeby, an eight-hour sleep in the aforementioned sleeping bag will offer 24 minutes of additional talk time or 11 hours of standby time.
“That’s assuming the inside of the sleeping bag is 37 degrees.”
The actual material used in the technology is still in development, and it also needs to be made more durable. It will be a while yet before we see technology like this adopted on a grand scale, but it’s still exciting.
What do you think? Would you wear a pair of Power Shorts? Let us know in the comments below!