A team of researchers from the Michigan State University has built a futuristic device that could transform motion into a sustainable source of energy. According to their statements, the nanogenerator could power up mobile devices, keyboards, or LEDs.
Furthermore, they say that a mobile device would need no battery as long as the handset relies on this groundbreaking piece of technology.
Nelson Sepulveda is an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Michigan State University. He believes that in the near future mobile cellphones will be able to run for a week at a time using the nanogenerator without the user having to charge up the device not even once. Instead, the power will be generated by the user’s body motion.
“We are on the path toward wearable devices powered by human motion”, reads one of Professor’s Sepulveda written statements.
However, at this point, it is yet too soon to talk about a mass production. The first nanogenerator the team has built features a silicone wafer covered in thin layers of silver films, polypropylene ferroelectret, and polyamide. In order for each layer to contain charged particles, ions are added into the mix. As a result, the kinetic energy is ultimately converted to electrical energy.
The nanogenerator is no thicker than a sheet of paper. Furthermore, it can adapt to different applications, as well as sizes, depending on the user’s needs. So far, the team of researchers was able to use the nanogenerator to power a flexible keyboard, an LCD touch screen, and even a panel of 20 LEDs.
Furthermore, the developers say that the already tiny device can become even smaller and even more powerful. Professor Sepulveda says that each time the user folds the nanogenerator, the amount of voltage produced increases exponentially. He goes on by saying that in some cases it can even fit in the heel of a shoe. The nanogenerator would then convert the power resulted after each time the heel strikes the ground into electrical energy. Ultimately, this energy can be later transferred to a headset, for example.
For the initial experiments, the team of researchers used a nanogenerator as small as a finger, according to their reports.
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