A new gadget could use the energy from tiny bending movements to generate electrical power. Now you can power your electronic devices by walking and other ambient motions.
Many biological, machine and environmental gadgets employ the energy from minute motions in order to provide an endless source of power.
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Scientists at MIT have started what is a novel technique. It utilizes electrochemical processes and these can collect the energy from a number of sources. Natural actions and movements such as walking could be used in the spectrum of energy harvesting.
The whole technology is basically oriented around a few layers of polymer and metal. The material was discussed in a journal. Previous attempts have used the triboelectric effect.
The new system, based on the slight bending of a sandwich of metal and polymer sheets, is described in the journal Nature Communications, in a paper by MIT professor Ju Li, graduate students Sangtae Kim and Soon Ju Choi, and four others.
An example of this is rubbing a balloon against a sweater in order to generate electricity. Then there is piezoelectricity. This consists of crystals that generate current when they are squeezed or manipulated. Vibrations from machines may be employed in a similar manner. But when it comes to walking or working out, such energy harvesting is not so easy.
The novel technology employs lithium ion batteries. This is cost-effective and the flexibility of this wearable technology is such that it will not suffer many shocks.
This new technology is electrochemical in its nature. Thin plates of lithium are used as electrodes. These layers have porous polymer that is dripping in electrolyte in between them. The system simply has an input of physical energy and this results in an output of electric energy.
When the devices are manipulated, they work in such a fashion that excess electricity is generated. This can be used to fuel an external device. The amount of manipulation required to get the job done is very small.
Fuel cells and solar energy will be a thing of the past once this system becomes common practice. This process remains outside the domain of the second law of thermodynamics. Therefore, the efficiency could be virtually close to 100% which is a modern day miracle.
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The device is very reliable. It can be counted on to improve mankind’s abilities. Despite the previous label of being parasitic applied to this method, now it seems to lend itself to a large output of energy. Such tinkering will help produce even more efficient and worthy articles of technology in the future.