The weaving of fabrics has been practiced by humans for thousands of years, and as time has progressed the variety of materials available to us has grown remarkably. Still, at the end of the day, fabrics cover your body and not much else. Researchers at Nottingham Trent University, however, are working on something much different — a solar cell so small that it can be embedded into yarn to turn clothing into a device that generates electricity.
These cells measure in at 3mm in length and 1.5mm in width, which will reportedly enable clothing made with them to feel and look nearly the same as normal fabrics. This type of tech would alleviate one of the problems with wearable electronics which have to be charged somehow, and would allow for the charging of other devices — notably cell phones — with wearable fabric. Perhaps an embeddable wireless charging coil could also be developed in the future to let you charge your phone by simply placing it in an enhanced pocket.
As of now, the technology has been tested with a phone and Fitbit, and 200 of these cells can generate up to 10 volts of potential and 80 milliwatts of power. The concept is elaborated upon further in the video below.