CSIRO’s Flexible Integrated Energy Device (FIED).

A$4.4 million for clever clothing

Reference: 07/209

Imagine being able to use electronic devices by simply plugging them in to your clothing.

  • 18 October 2007

CSIRO has just received funding of A$4.4 million to help bring this possibility a step closer.

CSIRO’s Flexible Integrated Energy Device (FIED) was one of eight proposals selected as part of the latest round of Defence Capability and Technology Demonstrator (CTD) Program funding announced last night.

Principal Research Scientist with CSIRO’s Energy Technology Division, Dr Adam Best, said it was envisaged that the technology would be incorporated into a piece of clothing and would comprise three components: advanced, conductive fabrics as part of the battery, vibration energy harvesting device and a rectifier/power management system to power soldiers’ electronic equipment.

“It will look like an ordinary garment but have extraordinary capabilities,” Dr Best said. “As the person wearing the garment moves, the vibrations they create can be harvested and channelled into recharging the battery or powering plug-in electronic device or devices.

“CSIRO has combined its significant capabilities in the areas of energy harvesting, energy storage and advanced fibre development to create the integrated battery technology.”

The device will be used to store and provide energy over a continuous period of time and can be charged by plugging into an electrical power point or through vibration energy harvesting.

“This kind of technology has important applications for soldiers in the field and could mean they no longer need to carry heavy batteries,” Dr Best said.

“Essentially, they’d be wearing the battery, not carrying it. We’re excited about this funding because it means we’re a step closer to making the FIED a reality.

“We’ll use the funds to further develop the various components of this technology and look at how we bring them together into a wearable garment.

“It’s a real motivator to know this technology could one day be used by the men and women who serve in Australia’s Defence Force to protect our country.”

There are a range of other civilian applications for the FIED, including communication devices such as radios and mobile phones, medical devices such as vital sign monitoring systems, small electronic devices including MP3 players, and sports wear.

“This kind of technology has important applications for soldiers in the field”
Dr Adam Best

Chief Defence Scientist, Dr Roger Lough, announced the funding last night at the annual Capability and Technology Program Dinner held in Canberra.

The CTD Program, managed by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), enables Defence and industry to collaboratively explore emerging technology developments and assess their potential to enhance Australian Defence Force capability.

Images available from: $4.4 million for clever clothing.

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