Scientists are working on a new power system which can use the human body to supply enough power to charge electronic devices. This new milestone can use tiny movements such as the pinch of a finger to generate power.
The team involved are presenting their findings at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society. They have used the new nanotechnology chip to power LCD displays and diodes, as well as to transmit a radio signal once the generated power has been stored.
Dr Zhong Lin Wang of the Georgia Institute of Technology said “This development represents a milestone toward producing portable electronics that can be powered by body movements without the use of batteries or electrical outlets.
“Our nanogenerators are poised to change lives in the future. Their potential is only limited by one’s imagination.”
While the latest device still has limitations, the new version is thousands of times more powerful than the predecessors, allowing scientists to take the technology out of the lab for the first time.
Wang said “If we can sustain the rate of improvement, the nanogenerator may find a broad range of other applications that require more power.”
The technology is fascinating, it uses Zinc Oxide Nanowires, which generate electricity when strained or flexed. This means that even a heartbeat can generate power. 500 of these nanowires can fit inside a human hair. Five Nanogenerators working together produced around 1 micro ampere output current at 3 volts – which is the same voltage produced by two AA batteries.
Wang added “While a few volts may not seem like much, it has grown by leaps and bounds over previous versions of the nanogenerator.
“Additional nanowires and more nanogenerators, stacked together, could produce enough energy for powering larger electronics, such as an iPod or charging a cell phone.”
KitGuru says: An iPod charged by simple body movements, imagine what you could power when going for a run.