1,200 tiny solar panels embedded in fabric to charge mobile devices

Researchers at Nottingham Trent University integrated 1,200 solar cells into a piece of textile

51 x 27 cm. Stable and safe material produces enough energy to charge wearable devices.

Material equipped with strong but very flexiblewire, withstands the same loads as everyday clothes, scientists say. It can be machine washed at 40°C along with other laundry. In addition, all solar cells are made of silicon, so the material is chemically stable and non-toxic.

Prototype of electronic textile. Image: Nottingham Trent University

Solar cells with a length of only 5 mm and1.5 mm wide, embedded in a waterproof polymer resin and not felt by the user, the engineers say. At the same time, the fabric itself remains "breathable" - it passes air well.

Tests have shown that the material can generate output power from 335.3 to 394 mW depending on the degree of illumination.

The material we have developed is in every senseand purpose, it looks and behaves just like any ordinary textile because it can be crumpled and machine washed. But hidden beneath the surface is a network of more than a thousand tiny photovoltaic cells that can use solar energy to power personal devices.

Theodore Hughes-Riley, Associate Professor of Electronic Textiles at Nottingham School of Art and Design and Head of Research

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