The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia has assigned $4.4m to develop a shirt that can generate electricity from the wearer's movements.
The Flexible Integrated Energy Device uses advanced conductive fabrics as part of the battery, along with a vibration energy harvesting device and a power management system to charge electronic equipment.
"It will look like an ordinary garment but have extraordinary capabilities," said Dr Adam Best, principal research scientist at CSIRO's Energy Technology Division.
"As the person wearing the garment moves, the vibrations can be harvested and channelled into recharging the battery or powering plug-in electronic devices. Essentially, they would be wearing the battery, not carrying it."
The clothing will initially be designed for use by soldiers in the field, but the organisation has not ruled out civilian applications such as shirts that could power MP3 players.
The shirt will be developed in a three-year programme to produce clothing capable of operating in a variety of conditions. The developers have stated that they need to make it "soldier proof" before releasing it to manufacture.
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