Water-Absorbing Gel Harnesses Humidity to Keep Rooms Cool

Assistant Professor Tan Swee Ching and his team from the National University of Singapore  have created a new zinc-oxide hydrogel that can both dehumidify a room's ambient air to improve thermal comfort, and harness that moisture in the air for a range of practical applications. The hydrogel can generate about 1.8 volts of electricity, similar to an AA battery - enough to power devices like a small digital clock. Tech Briefs spoke to Professor Tan about the technology's 'cool' applications.