We’ve seen charging devices that generate electricity from all kinds of different sources, from fuel cells to kinetic energy to solar power, but this one might be the first of its kind, as it’s designed to produce a charge from the heat of your body as you sleep.
Mobile phone company Vodafone, in conjunction with the Electronics and Computer Science Department of the University of Southampton, have developed a sleeping bag that can turn the temperature differential between the inside of the bag and the outside of it into usable electricity that can charge gadgets while you sleep.
The sleeping bag, called the Recharge, uses the Seebeck effect to product electricity:
“Basically, we’re printing down pairs of what are called ‘thermocouples’. You print lots of those down and connect them up to make a thermoelectric module.
One side of that is cold and the other is hot, and when you get a flow of heat through it you can create a voltage and a current. Voltage and current together equals electrical power.” – Stephen Beeby, Professor of Electronic Systems at the University of Southampton
In addition to the Recharge bag, Vodafone has also developed the Power Pocket shorts, which uses the same technology, but instead of being in a sleeping bag, the thermoelectric material can be stitched into clothing, so that the kinetic energy produced by the body during daily activities can be used for power.
While the technology is still fairly new, according to Beeby, a full night (8 hours) in the sleeping bag can produce enough power for 24 minutes of talk time (or 11 hours of standby), and a full day of wearing the Power Pocket shorts can boost a smartphone battery an additional four hours.
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