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EDINBURGH – Researchers in both Scotland and Ireland have teamed up to develop a method of using the kinetic energy generated by clothing to power small devices.

The multi-disciplined team, led by academics at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University’s Research Institute for Flexible Materials, are tinkering with the idea of using triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) to harness power from apparel, despite previous failed attempts.  

Professor George Stylios, from Heriot-Watt’s School of Textiles, commented: “Our biggest challenge is increasing our power output in order to make this a viable option. For example, textile TENGs currently produce power in the microwatt to milliwatt range. We need to drastically increase the level of friction in order to achieve an output of hundreds of milliwatts, which is required to power most mobile devices.”

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