Digital interactive media has become quite a big part of our entertainment. New devices are increasingly taking an active role in interaction, responding to hand movement or gestures. Of course, all these need some sort of power supply, either batteries, or a power outlet. Now, Disney Research has taken one step further, creating a new energy harvesting technology that generates electricity through the interactions of the user with paper-like materials.
The new device is a type of a paper generator, which consists of two conducting layers made of metallized polyester, and a sheet of Teflon between them. When paper is rubbed over it, the very flexible, light and inexpensive sheet generates electricity in amounts sufficient to power LEDs, e-paper displays and other devices, which assist interactive applications for printed media.
Because the paper generators respond to quite a number of gestures, including rubbing, sliding, or tapping, they have plenty of applications in interactive posters and books for kids, or generally in any media that would require a battery to provide entertainment. You can see how it works here.
Disney has already come up with a number of media and interactive games, in which the technology could be used. It is certain that this innovation will be present in all books and games branded by the company, but it definitely has potential to be implemented in many other fields, including children education.