Australian IT – Science stitches up cyber-power (Simon King , FEBRUARY 11, 2003)

It’s almost beyond the realms of imagination – a computer plugged into an item of clothing for power.

Scientists attending a recent three-day conference at Wollongong University on breakthroughs in intelligent polymers, say such a development is only a matter of time.

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“The materials to do this are now available,” the university’s Professor Gordon Wallace says. “It’s now just a matter of merging the materials with the textile engineering. It’s totally feasible.”

Professor Wallace says the US military and navy are particularly interested in “fibre batteries”.

“Such batteries mean you could have an autonomous individual or soldier, which means you could run things like computers without the need for batteries,” he says. “It means clothing and tents can be energy-generating.”

The technology is also available to convert sunlight into electricity, with solar cells seamlessly integrated into fibres and garments.