Researchers say recent findings point to a way of making silicon into a better thermal conductor for turning even small amounts of heat into electricity. The secret lies in nanowires, or microscopic strands of silicon. Arranged and bent in a particular way, they channel heat energy far more efficiently than current designs for thermoconductors. With improved efficiency comes better energy conversion, that even the temperatures generated by body heat could produce enough electricity to charge the batteries in small technology.
The research is conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of California at Berkeley. You may be able to charge your cell phone or iPod by keeping it in your armpit or thermal underwear! The meaning of the discovery will depend on whether these rough nanowires will be efficient enough to make commercial sense.
[via TG Daily]