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New Technology Charges Our Gadgets While We Walk

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captureWith every new smart phone, or cool portable technology that comes along, the need for having a wireless charger at our disposal at all times, becomes greater. Scientists have long realized this, and they have also thought of the ultimate solution to the problem, although most work until now has been conceptual.

I am referring to the harvesting of kinetic energy, or the power of movement, and the team that brought this to our attention, is from Georgia Institute of Technology, and it is led by Dr. Zhong Lin Wang. They developed the first ever triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG), which can convert mechanical energy into electricity.

This is everyone’s dream, really, being able to charge our phone or a music player as we walk down the street. We have to admit, it would be super cool to get rid of all cables and chargers, and simply go out, do our daily jog, and done, battery is full again. This is exactly what the new technology presented at the 247th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) last week in Dallas does.

The small power generator developed by the scientists works based on the so called piezoelectric effect, which is basically the conversion of pressure into electricity. Although many have looked into ways to convert the energy of movement into power, no one has come as close to the real deal, as these guys. Their invention, TENG, is the first ever triboelectric nanogenerator has a power output density reaching 300 Watts per square meter. TENG can be integrated in virtually any piece of clothing, floor mats, backpacks or foot pedals, and can harness the energy of every single one of our movements during the day.

This is the first time a team finds a way to harness and convert the energy of movement into usable power. The potential of the technology is huge, and this is why the scientists are looking for ways to make it commercial.  If it ever hits the market, the technology will definitely transform the way we think about charging, or walking, for that matter.

Image (c) Georgia Institute of Technology

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