A research team from the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have found a way to print thermoelectric materials onto flexible, glass fabric. This fabric is actually a miniature generator, capable of harnessing your body’s heat and converting it into usable energy to charge your mobile, wearable devices.
Byung Jin Cho, professor of electrical engineering at KAIST :
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, which is an essential element for wearable electronics.
The small generator, at 10 cm x 10 cm can produce 40mW of electrical power given a difference of 31 °F between human skin and the surrounding air. Cho thinks the material can be scaled up to provide energy for automobiles, airplanes, and other large machines.