Clothes that Turn Heat into Electricity

Allison Guy
January 12th 2013

With rising energy costs and our growing arsenal of iPads, smart phones, and wearable monitors, we're always on the lookout for new ways to power our devices. Perpetua Power, an Oregon-based startup, has invented a chip that can turn heat into energy – specifically the heat from your own body. When placed against your skin, the one square-inch TEGwear thermoelectric generator outputs up to three volts. One generator is enough to power headphones or a pedometer; a battery of them sewn into your favorite jumpsuit might even provide enough power for a phone. Maybe the TEGwear chip will be the intermediate step between old-and-tired fossil fuels and our fat-powered Energy Belt.

Image and story via Fast Company.

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Martijn van Mensvoort
Posted 12/01/2013 – 23:23

Hi Mike, I think you confused the report about the 'three volts'... with 'three watts'.
Because can not judge the energy efficiency without knowing what amount of current this thermoelectric device can generate. Be aware: it requires voltage AND current to generate power.
PS. Air is a heat isolator... so it's probably a dellusional to associate that this device could replace solar cells.

Mike S
Posted 12/01/2013 – 15:17

This is a huge leap forward. Why, because it seems to me this chip is much more efficient than solar cells for it's size, and there are much better places to utilize this chip than in clothing. Hooking up these chips in series in a hot space like an attic or anywhere the temperature is say between 99 and 120 degrees could do much more than just charging a phone. Take the gimmick-drive away from promoting this technology, and this can be a serious step forward.

Should men be able to give birth to children?

Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

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