Scientists at the Michigan State University in the US have invented a new technology which will make it possible to charge your phone or raher any device with just a finger swipe by using a new low-cost, film-like device that can convert mechanical energy from human motion into electrical energy needed to charge the device. Known as a nanogenerator, scientists successfully tried it to operate an LCD touch screen, a bank of 20 LED lights and a flexible keyboard, all with a simple touching or pressing motion and without using a battery.
Nelson Sepulveda, associate professor at Michigan State University in the US said, “We’re on the path towards wearable devices powered by human motion. What I foresee, relatively soon, is the capability of not having to charge your cell phone for an entire week, for example, because that energy will be produced by your movement.”
The process consists of a silicone wafer, which is then pieced together with several layers of thin sheets of environmental friendly substances like silver, polyimide and polypropylene ferroelectret. Ions are also added so that each layer in the device contains charged particles. Electrical energy is created when the device is compressed by human motion. The device is called a Biocompatible Ferroelectret Nanogenerator, or FENG. The device is as thin as a sheet of paper, lightweight, flexible, biocompatible, scalable, low-cost and robust. These properties make FENG “a promising and alternative method in the field of mechanical-energy harvesting” for a variety of electronics such as wireless headsets, cell phones and other touch-screen devices.
The device can vary in size depending on the device that needs to be charged. For instance, the device used to power the LED lights was palm-sized while the device used to power the touchscreen was as small as a finger.
Another noticeable quality about the device is that it becomes more powerful when folded. Sepulveda said. “Each time you fold it you are increasing exponentially the amount of voltage you are creating. You can start with a large device, but when you fold it once, and again, and again, it’s now much smaller and has more energy. Now it may be small enough to put in a specially made heel of your shoe so it creates power each time your heel strikes the ground."
If this actually works, we can say good-bye to the good old chargers for good and carrying different charges for different devices would be a thing of the past.