Can you imagine charging your iPod, your phone, or any other gadget with the beat of your own heart? A team of researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology are developing just such a system that utilizes nanotechnology to generate energy from the tiniest of movements. The technology is based around zinc oxide nanowires, which generate electricity when they are strained or flexed. This means that by simply walking, running or breathing heavily, your body could generate power for your portable electronic devices — the scientists even believe that your heartbeat could do the job.

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The team unveiled their research at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, where the scientists said their findings have already been used to power LCD displays and diodes.

Speaking about their research, Dr Zhong Lin Wang said: “This development represents a milestone toward producing portable electronics that can be powered by body movements without the use of batteries or electrical outlets. “Our nanogenerators are poised to change lives in the future. Their potential is only limited by one’s imagination. If we can sustain the rate of improvement, the nanogenerator may find a broad range of other applications that require more power.”

So far Dr Wang and his team have captured the power of millions of nanowires, which are so small that 500 could fit in a human hair. Five nanogenerators working together would be able to produce about 1 micro ampere output current at 3 volts – this is roughly the same voltage generated by two regular AA batteries.

Dr Wang said: “While a few volts may not seem like much, it has grown by leaps and bounds over previous versions of the nanogenerator. Additional nanowires and more nanogenerators, stacked together, could produce enough energy for powering larger electronics, such as an iPod or charging a cell phone.”

+ Georgia Institute of Technology

Via The Telegraph

Lead photo by MIT