First Viable Nanogenerators Will Be Powered By Body Movements
Researchers headed by Georgia Tech’s Zhong Lin Wang have lately reported about the innovative discovery of the first viable “nanogenerator,” a small flexible computer chip that gets its power from body movements like snapping fingers or even your heartbeat. The chip converts the pressure into electrical energy that can be stored in capacitors and used to power LEDs. This technology could soon replace batteries for small devices like MP3 players and cell phones. Zhong Lin Wang claims this discovery to be a huge advance toward producing portable electronics that can be powered by body movements without the use of batteries or electrical outlets. The nanogenerator may find a wide range of other applications in future, e.g.: personal electronic devices powered by footsteps activating nanogenerators inside the sole of a shoe; implanted insulin pumps powered by a heart beat; environmental sensors powered by nanogenerators flapping in the breeze. The clue to the technology is zinc oxide (ZnO) nanowires, which can generate an electric current when strained or flexed, actually it can be any body movement, such as walking, a heartbeat, blood flowing through the body or. Moreover the nanowires can also generate electricity in response to wind, rolling tires, or other movements. Five nanogenerators put together produce about 1 micro Ampere output current at 3 volts, that can be compared with the same voltage generated by two regular AA batteries.