Today’s breakthrough technology: recycle heat from your body, cars, boats, factories, and convert it to electrical power with glass fabric-based thermoelectric (TE) generators.
We are not even talking about tomorrow or in ten years.
Byung Jin Chothat’s team of Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) researchers are making and testing extremely light and flexible TE generator wristbands right now!
Everything that makes heat can be fitted with this extremely variable patch, that is made from glass fibers woven together, and used to power your iPhone, iPad, or Google Glass.
“Pastes that can convert heat into electricity by exploiting the temperature difference between a person’s skin and surrounding air are pressed down into the fabric. The glass fabric is much lighter than materials like ceramics and alumina that are more traditionally used to hold the pastes” says GigaOm
Ever feel like the Mandarin’s Power Rings should be real?
Well they could be, at least in a manner of speaking, because you can make body-heat-electricity generating rings and sport them while reading the newest Iron Man (and the Mandarin therein) comic book on your Kindle (unless you are like me and you still read them on paper, where power is not required).
The KAIST TE generator, with a size of 10 cm x 10 cm, produces about 40 mW electric power, based on the temperature difference between human skin and the surrounding air (31 °F).
Professor Cho explained: “For our case, the glass fabric itself serves as the upper and lower substrates of a TE generator, keeping the inorganic TE materials in between. This is quite a revolutionary approach to design a generator. In so doing, we were able to significantly reduce the weight of our generator (~0.13g/cm2), which is an essential element for wearable electronics.”
Bring on the self-sustaining (with heat applied) energy revolution.