Self-powered laptops and everlasting batteries could soon become a reality thanks to a new study from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology that measured a piezoelectric film’s capacity for turning mechanical pressure into electricity. Piezoelectricity is a phenomenon already at work in small devices such as cigarette lighters, which use a piezoelectric crystal to create a charge when struck by a spring-loaded hammer. Piezoelectric materials such as crystals or ceramics are nothing new, but this is an application with a greater scope for use.
Photo by Declan Jewell
“Our study focused on thin film coatings because we believe they hold the only practical possibility of integrating piezoelectrics into existing electronic technology,” the study’s lead co-author Dr. Madhu Bhaskaran said. She believes this discovery could lead to wider applications in consumer electronics.
“The power of piezoelectrics could be integrated into running shoes to charge mobile phones, enable laptops to be powered through typing or even used to convert blood pressure into a power source for pacemakers–essentially creating an everlasting battery,” she continued.
Dr. Bhaskaran collaborated with RMIT’s Dr. Sharath Sriram and Australian National University’s Dr. Simon Ruffell on the study, which was published in Advanced Functional Materials this month.