Researchers in Spain and Italy teamed up to develop a t-shirt that can potentially charge phones and batteries, by generating electricity from the temperature difference between the wearer’s body heat and the environment. The t-shirt, created by scientists at the University of Málaga and the Italian Institute of Technology, converts ‘waste’ heat from our bodies into thermal power. The solution – made from tomato skin, ethanol, carbon nanoparticles and water – used to create this power can be adhered to a normal cotton t-shirt with a non-toxic spray. The shirt can currently power LED lights, and the scientists are exploring how to use the shirt to charge phones or even embed wi-fi into it.
Although this innovation isn’t in mass production (yet), it fits some of the most powerful trends we track to a tee :)
The end of excess. Remember (it wasn’t long ago!) when plastic straws suddenly became Public Enemy #1? They were very visible victims of an epic shift in consumer attitudes to waste. In response, we’ve seen brands and organizations thinking creatively about how to eliminate, capture or reuse any and every waste product: from orange peels turned into coffee cups, to stackable beer cans that eliminate the need for plastic rings, and much more. And, of course, it’s resulted in this t-shirt - that’s made from sustainable, leftover tomato peels and ensures not even body heat goes to waste. In your mission to reduce waste, rather than reducing your use of a material, can you supercharge an existing product with a sustainable add-on that delivers new value?
A charge for change. You’re all too aware of the ruthless (at times, cutthroat) demand for phone chargers. It’s clear the promise of a fully-juiced phone can be a powerful incentive for many. Powerful enough, perhaps, to convince people to get the outdoor time they desperately need: 1 in 4 Americans, for example, spend almost their entire day indoors. And going outside can reap a host of health benefits, such as reduced depression, improved vision and lower inflammation. With the above solution, the greater the heat differential the greater the electricity generation, so it will work best when the wearer exercises outside! What unique incentives can you embed into your offering to spur people to do the things that are good for them?