Imagine having jeans that charge your phone just by putting it in your pocket. That’s what this material — developed for the British Army — does. The fabric is made of yarn that conducts electricity, and while it needs a power source — say, a belt buckle — it has the potential to totally change the way we charge our gadgets.
The fabric, which is developed by Intelligent Textiles, can carry either power or data through a soldier’s clothes, helmet, or backpack to gear that otherwise needs separate power sources. The materials have been field tested, but they still need to be weather-proofed before moving into the real-world prototype phase.
And that’s all great, but the real breakthrough would be if this ever made it into your home, charging your gear. Right now, charging up a battery still involves wires, chargers, sockets. Inductive charging is developing, but it’s not at the point where you can just set your phone down on any surface and start powering up.
But if your pants or jacket or bag could charge your phone, or your tablet or laptop or anything else? And if that could be hacked together with some kind of inductive charging? You’d be able to almost totally cut the cord with your gadgets. Yes, you’d need to charge up whatever power source you’re using now and then, but keeping a pair of khakis plugged in while they hang in the closet is a lot different than having to remember to plug in your phone. [BBC]