By Paul Skeldon

As consumers become ever-more mobile centric, two things are going to hold them back: crummy networks and poor battery life. Well now at least one of those could be solved, simply by ‘powering up your pants’.

Researchers at The University of Surrey are developing a revolutionary technology that will allow people to act as their own “power source” by wearing clothing such as “smart” shirts, trousers (and pants) and shoes that harvest and store electricity.

The wearable power sources are Triboelectric Nanogenerators (TENGs), energy harvesting devices, which convert the movements of materials that produce static charge into usable electricity.

When someone wears a TENG while walking or running, it harvests the mechanical energy from the movement and converts it into electricity. This can then be stored in batteries or supercapacitors, and used to charge mobile phones or power medical devices such as fitbits.

TENGs could also be useful in developing countries, especially in remote locations where the main grid cannot reach, to power equipment such as radios, wireless communication devices, and medical equipment. Subsequently TENGs could also provide the household power requirements using large scale…