London: Next time your cellphone runs out of battery, you can charge it by just holding it in your hand, as scientists claim to have developed a new technology that turns body heat into electricity.
Researchers say they have developed a way to turn body heat into electricity using nanotechnology to put tiny carbon tubes into miniscule plastic fibres and made them look like a fabric.
The 'Power Felt' can keep your phone going for up to 20 percent longer just through the power of touch, meaning simply holding one, or even sitting on it, could recharge the cell, the 'Daily Mail' reported.
The technology has been created by Professor David Carroll of Wakeforest University's Centre for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials in the US.
According to Carrol, it could be the first wave of inexpensive ways to produce electricity that were far more affordable than current renewables such as solar, which was being held back by the high cost.
'Power Felt' is also extremely versatile and could provide emergency electricity for a radio or a torch, meaning it would be vital during power outages.
Carroll began his experiments after finding there was no naturally occurring material which was able to conduct electricity in the way he wanted that was affordable and flexible.
"If you grab one end of a bar of metal, the electrons that heat your hand become warm, " Carroll said.
"As they warm, they seek out the cold spots, which would be the other end of the bar. So (the electrons go) rushing down to the other end of the bar.
"So I have an excess of electrons on one side, and a depletion of excess electrons underneath my hands, so I have a voltage between the two which is called the thermal voltage. And that's what 'Power Felt' generates," said Carrol.
Even if there is no big temperature difference, 'Power Felt' can still pick up power from noises such as the vibration of the car, he added.
So far Caroll has already made a shirt that charges batteries, but the first way he believes the technology could be used is toys.
Sports clothing could also have a range of gadgets to monitor a person's performance built into it, all powered by the individual's own electric charge, said Carrol.
First Published: Tuesday, August 28, 2012, 15:53