A team of researchers from the University of Michigan has been successful in creating a motion-powered wearable generator which can potentially replace conventional lithium-ion batteries. The device is so small that it can potentially fit inside your shoe and power your wireless headphones.
The device created in University of Michigan’s computer laboratory has been created by a team of computer researchers and engineers led by Nelson Sepulveda. The researcher said that if the device is successfully implemented, the phone and tablet makers would need not worry about battery drainage when adding new features to the devices.
Called the biocompatible ferroelectret nanogenerator, or FENG for short, the ingenious device harvests the electrical energy generated by our body’s motion. The ingenious wearable generator consists of a layered silicon wafer created using various substances such as polypropylene ferroelectret, polyimide, and silver.
The surface of the silicon wafer is covered with charged ions. When the wearable generator is compressed, it creates electrical energy. According to Sepulveda, the largest wearable generator created by his team was no larger than a palm, and the smallest one was about the size of a finger.
Scientists set up multiple lab tests for FENG. During the first test, a palm-sized nanogenerator was attached to a touch screen. Whenever someone swiped the palm-sized generator, the screen would activate for a short amount of time.
The second series of tests performed on FENG involved some LED lights. The scientists devised a panel of 25 LED Lights and, this time, they experimented with a wearable generator which was small in size.
Like in the first experiment, whenever someone would swipe the surface, the lights would start to flicker.
The experiment was successful in proving that motion-powered devices are indeed the future of electronic devices. A similar devices could easily power a tablet or a smartphone just by harvesting the kinetic energy produced when the owner walks a few meters.
Furthermore, Sepulveda added that the device produces, even more, electrical energy when it is folded. In other words, the more you fold the device, the more every it produces, and the longer your electronic devices will last.
At the moment, the team is trying to create the final version of the nanogenerator. Although it will take something before it can be implemented in an electronic device, the team is confident that the generator will be a game-changer.
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