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Let your undies power your iPhone

Engineers at Stanford University are working on technology that will turn fabric into an electronic storage device.

What's more annoying? Batteries or people who sneeze without covering their mouths? Batteries or Jay Leno?

I choose batteries. They always give out at the least opportune moments and I'm always stunned by how much they cost at the local supermarket, or, indeed, the local Apple store.

So I have not been able to resist hitching up my pants with joy on hearing that some very clever engineers at Stanford are working to make your T-shirt, your pants, or, indeed, your favorite purple undies become, well, Energizers.

I am indebted to the fine minds at Engadget who tossed the news my way that Yi Cui of Stanford's Department of Engineering is leading a team that may revolutionize your intimate relationship with your iPhone, BlackBerry, or any other highly personal gadget.

Professor Cui and his team have already turned paper into power with the ingenious (to me, at least) use of ink infused with carbon nanotubes. (I have embedded some evidence.)

Now, they have taken the same principle and applied it to your wardrobe. Apparently, they have managed to dye fabric with ink without causing it to harden like a week-old pumpkin scone. Essentially, it seems that you won't even feel that your couture is now juicy.

This means you can go on long, long walks through the mountains, white headphones in your ears and White Stripes banging in your head, while you attempt to impress the heavens with your Jack White impersonation. And all the while your smalls or your extra-larges will be electrifying your gadgets.

I hate to put a damper on anyone's dream of electric pants, but I feel I ought to point out that there still might be some concerns about nanotubes contributing to cancer.

Still, if this ingenious creation does turn out to be safe, one can only imagine the interesting uses to which humanity will put it. What's betting that in not too many years to come, the cool look will involve jeans with flashing lights? Just imagine what clubbing will be like then.