Natural body movements such as breathing and walking could soon power pacemakers and maybe even give some extra juice to your future iPad purchase. Princeton University engineers have turned silicone rubber sheets into piezoelectric materials that create electricity when flexed, which opens up a whole range of possible applications worn outside the body or implanted in strategic locations. The Register also highlights a researcher statement about how silicone has already proven "biocompatible" through usage in cosmetic implants.
This latest research represents the first successful combination of silicone and nanoribbons made of lead zirconate titanate (PZT). The latter has piezoelectric characteristics that allow it to generate electrical voltage when squeezed or pressured, and can convert 80 percent of mechanical energy into electrical energy -- the most efficient piezoelectric material of the moment.
"PZT is 100 times more efficient than quartz, another piezoelectric material," said Michael McAlpine, a mechanical and aerospace engineer at Princeton, who led the project. "You don't generate that much power from walking or breathing, so you want to harness it as efficiently as possible."
McAlpine and his colleagues suggested applications such as shoes that help power mp3 players or smart phones. There's even the thought of placing silicone sheets against the lungs to harness natural breathing motions to power pacemakers, as opposed to using batteries that require surgical replacement when they run down.
The Princeton work received funding from the U.S. Intelligence Community, a cooperative of federal intelligence and national security agencies. So it's a safe bet that for the moment, spooks may benefit from this work more than top-heavy celebrities. But anyone hankering to get their power walk on now can consult one of Popsci's own DIY gurus.
[via The Register]
I've heard of devices that are built into the straps on backpacks to harness the energy of the up and down motion, but this is a pretty cool new application of that type of technology.
(OFF and On topic) Whenever I hear piezoelectric I start thinking about the Deuse Ex video Games.
This is a really big WOW. If we can couple this technology with the nano battery technology then we can re-use the power from the battery and recharge it as we go. Could be amazing.
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I've heard of devices that are built into the straps on backpacks to harness the energy of the up and down motion, but this is a pretty cool new application of that type of technology.....
Just wondering how this could work in an Ipad, would it simply be the carrying motion that makes it work or would there be something else that causes the flexing motion on the sheets so as to make energy?? just curious? www.patentceo.com www.relativitycollapse.com
Technology I am amzed and enlightened on a daily basis with the amount of igenuity and talent that exists in our world.