Innovation That Matters

Researchers created a solution using water and ethanol made from tomato skin and carbon nanoparticles | Photo source University of Malaga

A shirt generates electricity through a simpler and cheaper process


The new tech is inexpensive, uses biodegradable materials, and has the potential to create clothing with the power to charge a mobile phone or generate light

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Spotted: Researchers at the University of Malaga in Spain have created a t-shirt that generates electricity. While it sounds like something from a Marvel comic, the process is fairly simple, according to the research team.

The team created a solution using water and ethanol made from tomato skin and carbon nanoparticles. The solution is put on cotton clothing and heated by the body temperature of the person wearing it. That causes it to soak into the cotton, giving it electrical properties, like those generated by lead or other chemicals. 

This is not the first time clothing with electrical properties has been developed — more commonly known as e-textiles. The difference is that this solution is made using inexpensive, biodegradable materials. 

The prototype was developed with the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa (IIT). The team believes the solution could be applied in biomedicine or robotics; researchers involved in the project created a Wi-Fi antenna from tomato skin and graphene in a previous study. 



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