April 22, 2021, 11:02 a.m.View more articles
This month on Newsdesk: an energy-harvesting shirt, a city on Mars, and passenger airships return to the skies.
As we go about our day, we produce a lot of energy by moving our bodies, often sweating as we go. Most of this energy is wasted, but scientists in San Diego have come up with a way to capture the energy – an energy-harvesting shirt!
Motion-powered generators sewn into the shirt produce electricity when the arms brush against the body. Inside the shirt's chest, small electric cells help convert sweat into a low-voltage electric current.
The electricity is stored in a component called a “capacitor.” Acting like a battery, the capacitor can release the electricity to power objects like an LCD watch!
Stretchable, foldable, and even washable, the shirt is designed to be as wearable as possible. Scientists hope that clothes using similar technology might one day become wardrobe essentials, allowing us to power our electronic devices in style!
For thousands of years humans have flocked to live in cities, and now, architects are planning the next stage in urban living – a city on Mars!
Embedded in the side of a cliff, the city is designed to house up to two hundred and fifty thousand people. Constructed by boring tunnels deep into the rock, the martian metropolis would protect its residents from harmful radiation levels on the planet's surface.
Living and working within a network of tunnels, residents would live much like they would on Earth, even enjoying the delights of nature. The city would be completely self-sufficient, powered by solar electricity and supplied with food from farming tunnels.
The biggest challenge facing the city's designers is how to produce enough fresh air for its thousands of citizens to breathe!
In 1921, the world's first passenger airship was launched, lifting excited travelers into the sky for the first time. Filled with hydrogen gas, the airships weighed less than the surrounding air, which allowed them to float through the sky like a balloon. But following several serious crashes, people were put off travelling by airship.
Now, a century later, airships are once again preparing to welcome passengers. Quicker than ships, requiring less infrastructure than trains, and far better for the environment than airplanes, modern airships offer a clean and efficient way for passengers to travel the world. Entering service in 2025, one airship called the Airlander 10 will be able to travel up to seven thousand kilometers, and stay airborne for up to five days at a time. Modern airships rely on helium gas to float in the air rather than highly-flammable hydrogen, which makes them far safer than airships a hundred years ago!
Learn more about different types of energy by watching the Twig Film Forms of Energy
For more great topical science content, visit Twig Science Reporter where you'll also find videos, transcripts and lesson support to accompany this article.