Power Felt charges your smartphone with body heat


We like powering our many devices here at Crunchwear. However, we don’t always like being near an outlet. That’s why we have such a deep, unabiding love for gadgets that help make this process easier. We love backpacks with chargers buried deep inside its nether regions, for instance. However, what if we didn’t even have to carry around a backpack to make sure that our phones, tablets and other things remain ready to use? What if we could carry around just one single piece of fabric? That’s be pretty cool. Too bad it’s entirely the realm of science fiction.

Not so fast, cynic! Wake Forest University scientists have developed a thermoelectric device that converts body heat into an electrical current, which they are dubbing “Power Felt.” You wear this tiny patch of felt on your person and let your hot old body do all of the work of keeping your gadgets charged. The ultimate gadget of all, humanity.

It works by harnessing what’s known as the “Seebeck effect,” the conversion of temperature fluctuations into electricity and vice versa. The best part? This technology, while being mystical indeed, would be rather cheap to produce. A piece of this charging fabric would, in theory, set you back all of one single US Dollar. That’s because most of the tech heavy lifting going on behind the scenes here is going on way behind the scenes, as in underneath your skin. You are, in essence, the most expensive part of this technology.

Of course, and sadly, this tech exists in a lab somewhere but cannot be purchased at your local Radio Shack. For now we’ll have to charge our smartphones the old fashioned way, by hooking it up to a a gerbil as it runs along on a treadmill.