Charging your smartphone with just a finger swipe may soon be possible, thanks to a new low-cost, film-like device that can harvest energy from human motion.
Using the device, known as a nanogenerator, scientists successfully operated an LCD touch screen, a bank of 20 LED lights and a flexible keyboard, all with a simple touching or pressing motion and without the aid of a battery.
“We’re on the path towards wearable devices powered by human motion,” said Nelson Sepulveda, Associate Professor at Michigan State University, US.
“What I foresee, relatively soon, is the capability of not having to charge your cell phone for an entire week, for example, because that energy will be produced by your movement.”
The device is called a biocompatible ferroelectret nanogenerator (FENG). It is as thin as a sheet of paper and can be adapted to many applications and sizes. The device used to power the LED lights was palm-sized, for example, while the device used to power the touch screen was as small as a finger.
FENG could be “a promising and alternative method in the field of mechanical-energy harvesting” for many autonomous electronics such as wireless headsets, cell phones and other touch-screen devices, according to the study. Remarkably, the device also becomes more powerful when folded.
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