It's good to know the military is investigating portable renewable energy sources. This may help speed development of same in the commercial sector. Regarding energy harvesting materials, like clothing, several fabrics are in R&D, such as PowerFelt http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=239901 but they don't yet produce enough for portable electronic systems such as those soldiers use. These systems Elizabeth's article describes look to be a big improvement.
Given its relatively heavy weight, I'm assuming this design isn't meant to be carried around by soldiers in the field, but rather, to man some remote field station. Looking at the pic, (which is hard to interpret BTW), got me thinking that this looks a lot like fabric, maybe not for uniforms, but for a tent or some other mobile structure. That got me thinking why couldn't clothing or canvas be the so-called "canvas" for a renewable energy source???
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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