In the journal ACS Nano, scientists report the first durable, flexible cloth that harnesses human motion to generate energy. It can also self-charge batteries or supercapacitors without an external power source and make new commercial and medical applications possible.
Sang-Woo Kim and colleagues point out that the potential of wearable electronics extends far beyond the flashy and convenient. Small, lightweight devices could play life-changing roles as robotic skin or in other biomedical applications. But to maximize their utility, such electronics need an ultra-flexible, long-lasting energy source that is seamlessly incorporated into the device’s design. For a possible solution, Kim’s team turned to the emerging technology of “triboelectric nanogenerators,” or TNGs, which harvest energy from everyday motion.