CSIRO power jacket from Down Under


csrio-power-shirt.jpgCoats are essential clothing to have in every wardrobe, and in older times they were used to protect the wearer against hostile enemies who would love nothing better than slitting your throat open with their swords. These days, coats do not protect you from wayward bullets of a drive-by shooting but they sure do a darn good job when it comes to keeping you warm right smack in the middle of winter. An Australian organization known as CSIRO has developed a new power jacket that not only offers protection, but boasts the capability of juicing up your array of portable electronics simultaneously.

CSIRO (an acronym for Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) recently received a grant amounting up to $4.4 million Australian dollars, which has been channeled to develop a “Flexible Integrated Energy Device” (FIED) that is incorporated directly into a coat or jacket. The FIED is supposed to generate electrical energy to power the wearer’s portable electronic devices, hence doing away with a power plug. I forsee this being extremely useful for those who are used to traveling long distances, and need to keep their essential items such as cellphones, computers and PDAs juiced up at all times.

According to CSIRO principal research scientist Dr. Best, “It will look like an ordinary garment but have extraordinary capabilities. As the person wearing the garment moves, the vibrations they create can be harvested and channeled into recharging the battery or powering plug-in electronic device or devices.” Looks like this is yet another case of kinetic energy being put to good use.

The FIED is divided into a couple of major sections – the portion that is placed over the shoulder area (labeled in red as shown) will generate power on behalf of the outfit, courtesy of piezoelectric materials that continually generate power when squeezed and deformed. As for the blue areas located across the front and back of the vest, it will hold lightweight and flexible batteries to store the charge. No idea on when a commercialized version will be released though.

Source: Ars Technica

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