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Soon you’ll be charging your smartphone with your shirt

The ballache of super-short smartphone battery life could soon be solved by your togs, of all things. Researchers have come up with a way to capture the static from your clothes and convert it into battery power for your mobile, keeping you charged up wherever you roam.

Almost exactly a year ago, we reported that Nokia had released the world’s first pair of trousers which were capable of charging a mobile phone. Sadly, although the tech seemed sound and the concept was exciting enough to stain our own pants, the miracle trousers never really made it out of the lab.

Besides, that early iteration featured a 2400mAh battery and charging plate secreted in one of the pockets, which seemed a little cumbersome to say the least. Plus having a hot battery in that general area could have pretty dire consequences.

Still, thanks to new research from Australia and South Korea it looks like we’re in for something far slicker than a pair of battery-fitted strides. Get ready for a brand new fabric capable of generating the power your device needs, simply by rubbing together when you walk.

The smart new material is comprised of two layers – one coated with silver and one with zinc oxide – only nanometers wide. When the wearer moves around, the two layers rub together creating tiny sparks and the cutting edge charging technology effectively steals the electrons which are generated.

This breaktthrough tech could be music to the ears of big dogs like Apple, who have struggled to deliver hardware with solid battery life in the past – so much so that rival companies have made the issue a core source of humour for ad campaigns, calling Apple users “wallhuggers” because of their constant need to be near a power source.

However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. According to the boffins working on the new static tech, we could have generator-fabric clothing on the market within the next 10 years. Still a while to wait, then, and who knows what state our mobile phones and battery tech will be in by then.


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