Tomorrow's energy source: Tapping the amazing power of breasts


As the world continues its search for alternate forms of power, some researchers have begun looking at ways to harness the energy created by humans. For example, a gym in Hong Kong uses electricity generated by stationary bikers to power its lighting fixtures, while a Dutch dance club uses the vibrations of moving bodies to provide electricity.

While these advances are pretty amazing, they aren't all that useful for those of us who don't live in Hong Kong or Rotterdam. In fact, most people who wish to harness human power are stuck in the stone age, using the power of their feet to walk or ride a bike from place to place.

Admittedly, Triumph International, Japan has developed a brassiere that can use sunlight to power an iPod, but it must be exposed to sunlight in order to be effective. Moreover, as it resembles a cross between lingerie and a flesh-eating fungus, the solar-powered bra will probably not be in stores any time soon.

On the bright side, Slate's Adrienne So has explored the possibility of developing garments that could transform the pendulous motion of breasts into power. According to So, researchers have found that a D-cup breast ensconced in a low-support bra can travel up to 35 inches during exercise. When combined with nanowire-based fabrics, she argues that this movement could provide considerable amounts of electricity.

While bra power is still a few years in the future, it's interesting to imagine a future in which cell phones, iPods, and computers are plugged into various support garments. With power-generating bras on the way, could electrical jockstraps be far behind?

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. While he's long been aware of the power of breasts, he was surprised to learn that it can be harnessed!