Scientists at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden, have developed a thread made of conductive cellulose that can be used in textiles that generate electricity. “There is a real need for organic, renewable materials for use in electronic textiles,” says Sozan Darabi, doctoral student at Chalmers. Small wearables are often dependent on rare or even toxic materials, resulting in a gradual build up of electronic waste, Darabi says. The team’s technology starts with wood-based cellulose threads, which are dyed with an ink based on an electrically conductive biocompatible polymer. This “roll-to-roll” coating process turns the thread into a conductive one. The thread can be sewn into a fabric with a household sewing machine to produce a thermoelectric textile that generates electricity when subjected to heat on one side. Potential applications include medical devices that monitor health metrics. Photo: Chalmers University of Technology.