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Next-Generation Smart Devices Will Use Owner as Energy Source


The next-generation mobile and portable electronic devices will use their owners as an energy resource using Triboelectric Nanogenerators (TENGs). Along with human movements, TENGs can capture energy from common energy sources such as wind, wave, and machine vibration.

TENGs contain many advantages over other energy harvesting technologies including simple construction, low cost, high power output, and flexible and wearable properties, among others. The energy harvesting device uses the contact between two or more (hybrid, organic or inorganic) materials to produce an electric current.

Researchers from Surrey’s Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) have provided a step-by-step guide on how to construct the most efficient energy harvesters. The study introduces a “TENG power transfer equation” and “TENG impedance plots,” tools which can help improve the design for power output of TENGs.

Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the ATI, said:

A world where energy is free and renewable is a cause that we are extremely passionate about here at the ATI (and the University of Surrey) — TENGs could play a major role in making this dream a reality. TENGs are ideal for powering wearables, internet of things devices and self-powered electronic applications. This research puts the ATI in a world leading position for designing optimized energy harvesters.

Ishara Dharmasena, PhD student and lead scientist on the project, said:

 I am extremely excited with this new study which redefines the way we understand energy harvesting. The new tools developed here will help researchers all over the world to exploit the true potential of triboelectric nanogenerators, and to design optimized energy harvesting units for custom applications.

This research furthers the understanding of critical parameters affecting TENG output and behavior and their optimization. In the upcoming years, many breakthroughs are expected resulting in the design and construction of more efficient TENG devices for applications.

One day soon, we will live in a world where smart devices no longer require batteries and routine charging as we know it.

[via DailyScience]

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