Samsung invents Smart Clothing with a built-in 'Energy Harvester' that gains Power from Solar light, Solar and Body Heat
Earlier today Patently Apple posted a report about one of Apple's granted patents issued by the U.S. Patent Office about future smart apparel which could be one of the next products to emerge under the wearables category that Apple currently leads in with AirPods and Apple Watch. But Apple isn't alone on this front as Samsung's second patent application for smart clothing emerged back in Q2 2019. In Samsung's patent application, smartwear is specifically considered to be "Smart Clothes" wherein an item of clothing is combined with an electronic device as their patent graphic above proves out.
More specifically, the fabric of smart clothes may be combined with any number of sensors, wires, a battery, an antenna, a display, and an input/output device. Further, the smart clothes may include flexible or transparent devices as well as a solid type of hard devices. As such, smart clothes may be configured in various forms. The smart clothes may be extended or converged.
Keeping smartwear charged and operational is what Samsung's patent focuses on. Samsung notes in their patent filing that their invention covers a wearable electronic device that may include an energy harvester for generating electrical energy on the basis of a motion with respect to the wearable electronic device.
Considering that the focus of the patent is about harvesting energy to keep the electronics interweaved in the smart clothing active, Samsung only provides a sweeping view of what could be powered and nothing specifically.
The smart clothing can support medical applications like blood pressure meters, a body temperature meter, a heart rate meter and more. Smart Clothing could support controls for music or video and provide controls for use with a VR headset or glasses. It could provide controls on the smart clothing that could control an in-vehicle infotainment system.
Technically speaking, smart clothing could also simply act as a power source for accessories like smart glasses or even your smartphone. As an example, a simple hike or jog in the park could create enough power through the energy harvester to power a device like your smartphone.
Samsung's patent FIGS. 6A and 6B below cover clothing items such as a jersey that includes a plurality of energy harvesters, a plurality of processors (#620, 640 and #660), a plurality of sensors, and a battery (#680). The electronic device #600 (an item of smart clothing) may further include wires that interconnect the components.
According to some embodiments, each of the plurality of processors may receive sensor data about a user motion from at least one of the plurality of sensors.
Samsung's patent FIG. 7 illustrates the electronic device (#600) which may include the first area 610, the second area 630, and the third area 650 as sub-divided above.
According to some embodiments, for example, the first area may be defined on the body of the smart clothes, the second area may be defined on the right arm of the smart clothes, and the third area may be defined on the left arm of the smart clothes.
The first energy harvesters #622 may generate the first electrical energy 'EE1' on the basis of a motion with respect to the first area #610 or a change in the shape of the first area #610 in the electronic device #600. Further, the first energy harvesters may generate the first electrical energy 'EE1' from solar light, solar heat, and/or body heat.
Samsung's Patent FIGS. 13a/b/c below illustrates data flows for a method of operating an electronic device. If a motion is made, the plurality of energy harvesters may generate electrical energy under the control of the first processor.
Where does the energy come from? It comes from a user's motion that equates to users performing activities. Samsung's patent FIGS. 11 and 12 below illustrate activity tables. The first activities may include the states of stationary, walking, and running and the second activities include sports, fitness and vehicle.
In Samsung's patent FIGS. 17 and 18 above we're able to see how a plurality of processors can control various parts of apparel such as hat, jacket or sweater, pants, gloves and shoes.
Samsung filed a patent application in Korea in 2016 and in the U.S. in Q4 2018. The U.S. Patent Office published this patent application in Q2 2019.
Patently Mobile posted Samsung's first smart clothing patent application back in on December 30, 2019. Samsung's rival Apple began filing patent applications for smart fabrics and clothing back in 2017 and have over a dozen patents on record to date that you can check out in our archives here.