I came across this Power Dress article in the current issue of my May/June 2008 MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Alumni Magazine - Technology Review (also available as a subscription journal if you are interested). In Charlottesville, perhaps we all will soon be wearing some version of this rather intriguing garment at Fridays After Five or while visiting art galleries on First Friday. Brown is not my fashion color choice, but this dress is 'green' even though it is brown. I guess that I am more active than the average person in Charlottesville, and could generate a fair bit of energy if I had perhaps some power clothes. I don't carry a cell phone or MP3 player, but perhaps I could transfer my generated power to a home appliance or power an LED flashlight while walking at night in our Charlottesville neighborhoods with less than adequate lighting. Let me know what you might do if you had some power clothes to wear around town. If we have to wear clothes, why not get some electronic benefits, too. Of course this will only change that age-old question of 'what to wear' to 'watts to wear' or something like that.
Below is the complete news article from the May/June issue of Technology Review for the education and amusement of kleemanblog readers. Enjoy.
"An MIT-designed outfit modeled by grad student Heather Knight at the Seamless: Computational Couture fashion show at Boston's Museum of Science in January captures and stores energy generated by natural body movements. The dress's designers, Media Lab grad students Amanda Parkes and Adam Kumpf, stitched thin strips of piezoelectric film onto the garment near the elbow and hip joints; they also sewed on buttonlike piezoelectric coins at strategic spots. With a positive charge on one side and a negative charge on the other, the piezoelectric material creates a voltage when it moves or is bent or twisted. A rectifier circuit connects the strips and coins to capacitors, which store electrical charge and are wired to a central coin near the wearer's belly button--or what Parkes calls "the point of life of the dress." Parkes is now optimizing the design so that one day, wearers will be able to power their cell phones, MP3 players, and other portable devices by plugging them into the central coin."