If we lived in the best of all worlds:

Never get stranded with a dead cell phone again. A promising new technology called Power Felt, a thermoelectric device that converts body heat into an electrical current, soon could create enough juice to make another call simply by touching it.

How does it work?

The technology uses temperature differences — room temperature versus body temperature, for instance — to create a charge.

"We waste a lot of energy in the form of heat. For example, recapturing a car's energy waste could help improve fuel mileage and power the radio, air conditioning or navigation system," says researcher and Wake Forest graduate student Corey Hewitt. "Generally thermoelectrics are an underdeveloped technology for harvesting energy, yet there is so much opportunity."

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Let's dream a little:

"I imagine being able to make a jacket with a completely thermoelectric inside liner that gathers warmth from body heat, while the exterior remains cold from the outside temperature. If the Power Felt is efficient enough, you could potentially power an iPod, which would be great for distance runners. It's definitely within reach."

Capitalism will always keep Utopia "within reach":

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