In the near future you might be able to charge cell phones, tablets and other devices directly from your clothing. Research is in the works on so-called “smart” fibers that when woven together have the ability to store and generate power.
The textile device combines two main components: the dye-sensitized solar cell, which generates solar energy, and a fiber super capacitor that can charge, store and discharge the electrical energy.
A prototype has yet to be manufactured, and researchers caution that the textile isn’t waterproof or eco-friendly. Still, solar-enabled garments are expected to hit the consumer market in about five years. Potential users include the military, emergency service crews or anyone who needs a lightweight power source.