Samsung has patented smart clothing that is able to harvest energy for powering personal gadgets or embedded sensors. The patent details a shirt that contains this energy-harvesting technology, making it not just a shirt that could charge your gadgets, but one that could actually harvest the energy needed to do it. This is in contrast to previously unveiled “smart clothes,” which typically involve a battery that needs to be charged elsewhere.
The patent was filed by Samsung Electronics and describes as “Wearable Electronic Device and Operating Method” involving an energy harvester that uses movement to generate energy. The patent includes a description of the processors, sensors, and other hardware comprising the system. Joining the description is an illustration showing what appears to be an ordinary long-sleeved shirt (above).
The shirt shows a section in the lower back that contains some of the hardware, as well as a processor unit in the front of the shirt, and some other random unlabeled bits. In describing the purpose of this shift, the patent states, “The present invention provides a wearable electronic device that activates a sensor using electrical energy generated by an energy harvester and determines a user’s activity based on sensor data obtained from the sensor.”
What isn’t explicitly clear from the patent is the amount of energy this wearable could harvest and Samsung’s anticipated uses for it. The patent mentions using the energy to power sensors embedded in the clothing, ones that could do things like monitor the wearer’s activities. Whether that indicates a plan for using clothing as an activity tracker of some sort (a modern twist on active wear, perhaps), is unclear.
The patent also mentions applying “a light battery with a smaller capacity,” though details on that aren’t given. Big questions about the smart clothing remain, primarily Samsung’s intentions behind the patent. It is possible the company doesn’t have any present plans to launch a product based on the tech described above, but it’s hard to say what exactly the company is up to.
SOURCE: Let’s Go Digital