INSIGHT

Labour power - but not as we know it

With disruption affecting everything in business, some of us have started to rethink the way we source electricity. So is a surge of employee-generated electricity on the cards?

Breathe easy, we’re not talking about harvesting methane. That would be too disruptive, even for us.

But could there come a day when colleagues create enough electricity to run the network and PCs, cutting costs and carbon footprints?

Because the technology turning us all into living, breathing power cells already exists.

Quartz reports that scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have invented a fabric that uses human movement to charge electronics. The material is made from polymer fibres coated with metals and semiconductors and generates electricity not only through motion, but also exposure to the wind and sun.

Meanwhile, Readwrite reports researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a device to convert body heat. The wearable is concealed within your clothes and creates electricity using the difference in temperature between the body and the air.

Closer to home, British firm (and #VOOM competition entrant) Witt Energy hit the headlines earlier this year when their energy harvesting gizmo attracted investment of £2.4m in just six weeks on Crowdfunder.

The system uses a 3D pendulum to drive a transmission system, converting all motion in multiple directions into electricity. A world first.

None of the products are, as yet, commercially available. But as disruption continues to rewrite the rulebook, you could, very soon, be powering the office. In more ways than one.

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