Scientists at NTU Singapore have developed a stretchable and waterproof ‘fabric’ that turns energy generated from body movements into electrical energy.
A crucial component in the fabric is a polymer that, when pressed or squeezed, converts mechanical stress into electrical energy. It is also made with stretchable spandex as a base layer and integrated with a rubber-like material to keep it strong, flexible, and waterproof.
In a proof-of-concept experiment reported in the scientific journal Advanced Materials in April, the NTU Singapore team showed that tapping on a 3cm by 4cm piece of the new fabric generated enough electrical energy to light up 100 LEDs.
Washing, folding, and crumpling the fabric did not cause any performance degradation, and it could maintain stable electrical output for up to five months.
The scientists envision that their prototype could be woven into t-shirts or integrated into soles of shoes to collect energy from the body’s smallest movements, piping electricity to mobile devices.