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This engineer used wet clothes to create electricity3 min read

December 18, 2020 2 min read


This engineer used wet clothes to create electricity3 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Buzz

A Tripura-based engineer, Sankha Subhra Das, has invented a device that uses wet cloth to create enough electrical power to charge mobile phone, and support medical devices.

Das, a PhD student at IIT Kharagpur. comes from Khedabari village in Sipahijala district of the state. He created this device with his team as part of a research project to find ways to support power needs of remote rural areas. An invention like this ensures that basic medical needs of these areas are met.

How does it work?

Sourced from Financial Express

The only purpose we see for wet clothes is the promise of cleanliness. But an inventor like Das saw another potential— electrical power!

His device requires a piece of cloth cut up in specific dimensions. Then, this cloth is inserted into a plastic straw. The straw is vertically attached to a container half filled with water. There are copper electrodes at both ends of the straw that collect voltage. Water moves to the top through the straw using capillary action.

Capillary action is the upward movement of water against gravity.
Watch this video to know how water defies gravity!

And once, the water is transported to the top, the voltage is collected. One such device gives out 700 millivolts. That is not enough to charge anything substantial. But when many of these devices are connected, the resultant voltage is 12 volts! That is enough to charge a phone, and support small medical appliances (like glucose and haemoglobin testing kits).

Das was recently awarded the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) award for this contribution.

Owliver’s Play:

Thirsty flowers

You know that water moves upwards due to capillary action.
Now, let’s fill some flowers with colour using this principle.

1. Take a few white flowers.
2. Fill up half a glass with water.
3. Add some food colour or coloured ink to the glass.
4. Cut off half the stem of the flower and suspend it in water such that the petals remain dry.
5. Leave it overnight.
And wake up to a colourful surprise!

The coloured water would have travelled through the stems of the thirsty flower to its petals leaving it coloured.

You can also snip the stem of the flower into two halves stopping just before you reach the petals. Fill two glasses with water of different colours. Suspend each half in one of the glasses, and see how the different colours play out in the petals.

Sourced from Giphy

Don’t forget to share your creations with Owliver at

Image sourced from Financial Express.

(The Buzz is a fortnightly column that explores bright ideas that became reality)

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