Clothes that light up your life

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iol scitech dec 11 solar cell AFP File photo: The solar cells are thinner than a thread of spider silk and flexible enough to be wrapped around a single human hair. Photo: AFP PHOTO / Nature Communications

Tokyo - Clothes that could literally light up your life were unveiled on Tuesday by Japanese researchers who said their solar-cell fabric would eventually let wearers harvest energy on the go.

The new fabric is made of wafer-thin solar cells woven together that could see people powering up their mobile phones and other electronics with their sweater or trousers.

But its creators conceded there was work to do before taking the fabric to market.

“We still have things to solve before commercialisation, such as coating for the conductive wires and improving the fabric's durability,” said an official at the Industrial Technology Centre in central Japan's Fukui Prefecture.

“But we've already been contacted by electronics makers, blind makers and others who showed interested in our invention.”

The centre developed the fabric with a Kyoto-based solar cell maker and other private firms, the official said.

Solar power generation is attracting renewed attention in Japan as the country looks to alternative energy sources in the aftermath of last year's tsunami-sparked atomic crisis, the worst nuclear accident in a generation. - AFP

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