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The Business Journal of the Greater Triad
By Matt Evans, Reporter
Cell phones haven't quite gotten down to nano-size yet, but a nanotechnology breakthrough by researchers at Wake Forest University could keep such power-hungry devices powered up just through a simple touch.
The university reported Wednesday that its Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials has come up with something it calls "Power Felt" that can convert body heat into enough electrical current to give a dead cell phone battery enough juice for an extra call, for example.
The technology has to do with using the difference in room and body temperatures to generate the charge. It's possible to do that now but it's too expensive to use frequently. Wake Forest scientists think their version could someday make it possible to incorporate into a cell phone cover for just around $1.
There are lots of other potential uses too, says David Carroll, director of Wake Forest's nanotech center.
"Imagine it in an emergency kit, wrapped around a flashlight, powering a weather radio," Carroll said. "Power Felt could provide relief during power outages or accidents" or could even be woven into car seat covers to give the battery a boost.
The university is shopping the technology around for commercialization and is talking with investors now. Carroll's labs have come up with plenty of other ideas with commercial viability too, including solar collectors that a new company called Camel City Solar may make in a new Winston-Salem factory.
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