Twistron is some space age magic. It’s a yarn made from carbon Nanotubes that generates electricity when it’s stretched. Come on, that’s cool as heck, right?

“The easiest way to think of twistron harvesters is, you have a piece of yarn, you stretch it, and out comes electricity.” That quote comes from the University of Texas at Dallas, courtesy of Dr. Carter Haines BS’11, PhD’15, associate research professor in the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute at UT Dallas and co-lead author of the article.

I’m pretty sure we don’t yet have proper jetpacks and flying cars because this stuff wasn’t invented yet. Now that it is, Ima just sit here and wait for my jetpack and flying car.

A strand of Twistron

A strand of Twistron

Pure Energy

Seriously, this could be some big stuff. The researchers described using Twistron to harvest the energy of waves. Now, I’m told some 6 trillion watt-hours of energy break on the planet’s coasts every two hours. That’s enough to power 5 million energy-goblbing U.S. homes for a whole year—and that’s every two hours. Harvesting that energy is hard, and Twistron is the kind of technology that could possibly change that.

Or, how about clothes that generate power? Elevators that help power themselves? How about harvesting energy from temperature fluctuations? Come on, that’s insanely cool?!

To be fair, the researchers are thinking both big (waves) and small. Dr. Ray Baughman, director of the NanoTech Institute and a corresponding author of the study, said:

At present these harvesters are most suitable for powering sensors and sensor communications. Based on demonstrated average power output, just 31 milligrams of carbon nanotube yarn harvester could provide the electrical energy needed to transmit a 2-kilobyte packet of data over a 100-meter radius every 10 seconds for the Internet of Things.

One way or another, this is a cool development, the kind of thing that could could have a profound effect on the ways we live.

[Via TechCrunch]

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This is indeed exciting stuff. The potential use cases are practically limitless. The implications for resource poor settings, where energy consumption is not only poor, but often of a destructive nature, this could vastly improve the socioeconomic landscape and provide another route from extreme poverty.

And to think, Chubby Checkers was excited about the Twist back in 1959, and we just misunderstood what dance he was talking about. Prophetic.