Heat flows from higher levels to lower. In the process, it creates electric charge.
This principle of science is not new, but the way innovative minds are using it is new. The thinking runs like this.
Hmmmm! So we have a new way of generating electricity. First point is – where do we get this resource i.e. heat differentials?
Oh, plenty of places. And, why settle only for places where the heat differential already exists? Why not have a device to create heat, when needed. And why use a traditional source of energy e.g. fuel to create a heat differential? Why not look for renewable sources. So, the question now is — in what all ways can we create heat at no/low cost. Now, that’s a clear enough problem statement. Well, physical activity creates heat. Simply walk briskly to create a heat differential between your body and its surroundings.
Next question. Where all can we use the tiny amounts of electric charge that can be produced by elementary devices using this principles?
The question now is – In what all situations can we benefit from an additional spark?
Well, maybe your cell phone can use that extra juice to a dying battery. May not be useful when you are at home but how about when you are stuck at a remote place, wanting desperately to make just one short call?
Working ( probably ) on the above line of thinking, Wake Forest university has used nanaotechnology to create Power Felt – a fabric made up of tiny carbon nanotubes locked up in flexible plastic fibers that uses temperature difference to create charge. So, the next time you need to charge your cellphone in an emergency, just take a walk.