Engineers from multiple universities have come together to develop a practical and promising solution to the problem of charging our smartphones while on the run, even when you forgot to bring the cord along. Yep. It is now possible to charge your smartphone's battery by deriving power from the vibration energy. A suitable place to let your smartphone make use of this technology could be the seat of your car. All this has become a reality thanks to the dedicated efforts of the research team who has developed a nanogenerator that harvests vibration energy from a surface. If introduced as a commercial product, this technology has the potential to pave the way for self-charged personal electronics becoming popular.
Xudong Wang, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is working with his Ph.D. student Yanchao Mao and collaborators from Sun Yat-sen University in China, and the University of Minnesota Duluth on this project. The device they've developed is called "mesoporous piezoelectric nanogenerator", which makes use of the commonly available polyvinylidene fluoride, a piezoelectric polymer material that does the needful. By incorporating zinc oxide nanoparticles into a PVDF thin film, the team etched the nanoparticles off the film to make the material look and behave like a sponge with "mesopores". The softness of this spongy material lead the team to convert vibration energy into electricity.
Solving the low battery problem is such a must.
This newly structured material can be used a case for our smartphones and make it self-powering system. In fact, that nanogenerator when used on a smartphone, gives amplified electrical output thanks to the weight it brings for improved displacement. Moreover, the fact that the team's design and entire fabrication process is very simple, can suggest that bringing the technology into large-scale manufacturing should be a possibility. Self-powering electronics for-the-win!
What are your thoughts on the technology? Share with us in comments.
Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison