As wireless devices become ever more integrated into our daily lives, the struggle to keep them all charged and ready to work becomes a real problem. There are only so many different charging cables a person can carry around before going nuts.
Now, imagine a future where your mobile phone is actually powered by the sound vibrations generated from your voice! Thanks to the work of Professor Tahir Cagin, of the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University, voice-powered cellphones might just be in our future.
Cagin discovered a new “piezoelectric” material that is capable of converting mechanical vibration energy to electrical energy with a 100 percent increase in efficiency. The breakthrough comes in the realization that this particular material hits peak energy conversion when manufactured at 21 nanometers thick. Any thicker or thinner and the energy conversion capability of the material drops significantly.
Future applications for nano-sized piezoelectrics might just supplement, or entirely supplant, the traditional battery charger in future mobile devices. With enough of the right-sized piezoelectric elements arrayed in a cellphone’s receiver, the handset could be charged using sound vibrations.
Image courtesy http://www.nec.co.jp