Charging a path towards textiles as batteries

in September 14th, 2021

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Keeping our phones charged has become a constant part of our daily routines. But what if instead of finding an outlet, all you needed to do was put on the right shirt? A group of researchers in China have developed a t-shirt that can charge personal and medical devices — and it’s washable. How?

In short, their team developed a fiber that is also a rechargeable battery that can be woven into the fabric of a shirt. These textile batteries hold enough power to charge a mobile phone, marking a major milestone for the wearable technology industry. In past versions of wearable electronics, the battery itself limited adoption as it had to be both stored and charged or replaced. Fiber batteries, however, remove this barrier by seamlessly integrating into fabric for fully wearable technology. And unlike predecessors, it can also be mass produced, and reach the market in just two years (with sufficient funding).

In fact, the wearable technology industry as a whole is expected to become a $70B industry by 2025. What else is in the works? Well, there's…

  • A shirt that can monitor your heart rate. Born out of research by a Rice University graduate student, this top also functions just like a regular shirt but must be closely fitted to the body for proper monitoring.
  • While smart glasses have been around for years — from Google Glass to Snapchat Spectacles — Facebook recently entered the market through a partnership with Ray Ban. Similar to its predecessors, Facebook’s smart glasses allow users to record what they’re seeing at any given time.
  • And on the market already for smart jewelry is the Oura Ring, which uses advanced sensor technology to provide precise health insights such as calories burned, resting heart rate, nighttime movement, and more. Celebrities are already comparing their results in sleep competitions.

🎬 Take Action

Interested in smart wearables? Well then it might be time to go shopping. From smart yoga pants to fitness trackers, this list has six different types of wearable technology you can already get your hands on.

Resource Center:

  • Vice (Where we found this story) 1 week old | 5 minutes long
  • Chemical & Engineering News More about the new textile battery 1 week old  | 4 minutes long
  • ZME Science Smart shirt that doubles as a heart monitor 2 weeks old | 6 minutes long
  • Social Media Today Facebook reveals smart glasses with Ray Ban 4 days old | 8 minutes long
  • Adweek Celeb sleep competitions 2 weeks old | 4 minutes long
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That’s not a tank top.

I said tech top.

Art Credit: ASCII Art Archive

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