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One Day Your Pants May Power up Your iPod

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UC Berkeley researchers are perfecting microscopic fibers that can make electricity from simple body motions. The nanofibers may soon be woven into clothing, creating the ultimate portable generator.

Need juice for a dying iPod? You may soon be able to plug the gadget into a shirt, dance the electric slide and be good to go.

Researchers at UC Berkeley are perfecting microscopic fibers that can produce electricity from simple body motions such as bending, stretching and twisting. The filaments, which resemble tiny fishing lines, may soon be woven into clothing and sold as the ultimate portable generators.

It could take three years or more before it hits the store shelves, but the technology is already being hailed as a breakthrough.

The so-called nanofibers “will have very significant implications," said Mihail Roco, senior advisor for nanotechnology with the National Science Foundation, which recently gave a $350,000 grant to the project.

In addition to helping reduce electricity demands on local utilities, new industries could spring up to manufacture the tiny personal generators, he said.

Researchers are envisioning hikers powering up their digital cameras while trekking up a mountain or a jogger charging up her cellphone in mid-run.

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