Cheesy jokes aside, the mobile phone provider Orange UK in conjunction with renewable energy experts at GotWind, has created the very first t-shirt that can charge small mobile devices via the use of sound. Sound, of course, creates vibrations through the air, which are then collected by reversing the function of a Piezoelectric film.
Piezoelectricity is basically electricity that comes from pressure. There are already ideas for creating sidewalk projects in large cities to utilize the millions of people to energy and smaller projects that are designed for the home. Orange has taken the Piezoelectric film and modified it to act more like a microphone by absorbing sound pressure waves. These waves are then converted to an electrical charge via compression of interlaced quartz crystals. While the output is not a lot, it is enough to charge a reservoir battery that can be dispensed into a typical phone by way of an interchangeable lead.
The t-shirt live testing will be conducted during the Gloucester Festival. The music from the stage will produce approximately 80dB of sound which, according to the researchers at Orange, should produce around four watts/hour during the weekend of the festival – enough to charge two standard mobile phones or one Smartphone.
Orange will be conducting tests throughout the festival to see which acts will get the fastest charge. After the festival, the shirts can be thrown directly into the wash without any negative repercussions on the Piezoelectric film. Orange has done some other kooky stuff with regards to the intersection of fashion and clean energy in the past. For example, the creation of the Power Wellies that converted heat to keep people connected in 2010.