This fluoride-baked t-shirt can charge your gadgets

At the rate of scientists developing power packs woven into your clothing, there may just be a new meaning to wearing a power suit in the near future. Developers at the University of South Carolina have come up with a way to bake chemicals into your average t-shirt to make them capable of holding electric energy so shirts can become portable power packs wherever you’re headed.

Unlike the charging shoes we saw back in May, these t-shirts cannot actually generate electricity but can instead store it before you wear them. The study, spearheaded by mechanical engineering professor Xiaodong Li and post-doctorate researcher Lihong Bao, found that by soaking shirts in a fluoride solution then baking it in an oxygen-less atmosphere with high temperature (to prevent burning), the cotton fibers in the shirt can retain electric energy. The sample t-shirt used in the experiment can be as simple as ones found in discount stores, and could pave way for “flexible energy storage” within textiles, stated Professor Li.

this fluoride baked t shirt can charge your gadgets charging shirts university of south carolinaThe process, which creates a hybrid byproduct of carbon-activated fabric, can be used as electrodes that act as capacitors to help charge everyday gadgets. The t-shirts also do not lose their flexible texture and wearability, and can be used to charge and discharge items for thousands of times without diminishing more than five percent of the original performance strength.

“By stacking these supercapacitors up, we should be able to charge portable electronic devices such as cell phones,” Li told BBC. These shirts might also even be powerful enough to charge larger gadgets such as an iPad as well, and the technology could be further developed so that electronic devices could soon to engineered to be rollable to increase portability. It is not clear, however, how strong the charges are in these shirts or how long one would take to fully charge a smartphone from the one shirt you might be wearing.

Still, by eliminating the need to carry external chargers and power packs, having the ability the charge gadgets with just the shirt on your back could prove to be extremely environmentally friendly and reduce carbon waste. “Previous methods used oil or environmentally unfriendly chemicals as starting materials,” Li said. “Those processes are complicated and produce harmful side products. Our method is a very inexpensive, green process.”

Though, we have to wonder if these t-shirts can withstand sweat and rain if tiny molecules of electricity are woven within the fabric. Sure makes us nervous just thinking about getting electrocuted by your own t-shirt.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

Canada’s winters inspired a startup to warm homes with cryptomining heat waste

Cryptomining may be the key to untold riches and the future of currency, but it’s also an environmental nightmare. Heatmine, thinks it has the answer, but it could mean bolting a mining rig onto every home and business in the country.
Computing

Here's our guide to how to charge your laptop using a USB-C cable

Charging via USB-C is a great way to power up your laptop. It only takes one cable and you can use the same one for data as well as power -- perfect for new devices with limited port options.
Deals

19 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great stocking stuffer ideas), we've rounded up 19 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth…
Emerging Tech

Postmates’ to roll out Minion-like autonomous delivery robots in 2019

Postmates is about to employ a cute little robot to work alongside its human delivery personnel. Called Serve, the wheel-based bot can carry items weighing up to 50 pounds and has a range of 30 miles.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Rise of the Machines: Here’s how much robots and A.I. progressed in 2018

2018 has generated no shortage of news, and the worlds of A.I. and robotics are no exception. Here are our picks for the most exciting, game changing examples of both we saw this year.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

Thrill-seekers will be able to pilot themselves in a giant drone as soon as 2019

Want to hitch a ride on a giant drone? The startup Lift Aircraft is gearing up to let paying customers fly its 18-rotor giant drones over assorted scenic landscapes across the U.S.
Emerging Tech

CRISPR gene therapy regulates hunger, staves off severe obesity in mice

Researchers from UC San Francisco have demonstrated how CRISPR gene editing can be used to prevent severe obesity in mice, without making a single edit to the mouse's genome. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Parker Solar Probe captures first image from within the atmosphere of the sun

NASA has shared the first image from inside the atmosphere of the sun taken by the Parker Solar Probe. The probe made the closest ever approach to a star, gathering data which scientists have been interpreting and released this week.
Emerging Tech

Say cheese: InSight lander posts a selfie from the surface of Mars

NASA's InSight mission to Mars has commemorated its arrival by posting a selfie. The selfie is a composite of 11 different images which were taken by one of its instruments, the Instrument Deployment Camera.