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Future perfect: battery-less mobile phones


22 Mar 2011
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A research team from Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, has discovered a method of using common body movements to generate power for LCD displays, radio signal transmissions and diodes.

The ultimate goal of the research is to find a method to use body movements to power medical devices that would reside within the body.

The technique could also be used to charge portable electronics such as iPods and cell phones.

"This development represents a milestone toward producing portable electronics that can be powered by body movements without the use of batteries or electrical outlets," said Zhong Lin Wang, the lead scientist of the project.

"Our nanogenerators are poised to change lives in the future. Their potential is only limited by one's imagination," Zhong added.

The research is still in the early stages, but once it's fully developed, it may be used in personal electronics items which would not require any batteries at all. This will help companies to make even smaller iPods and cell phones.

The technology uses zinc oxide nanowires to generate power from usual body movements. Even heart beats can generate power.

In order to generate current, millions of nanowires are used in a nanogenerator. These are so small that 500 of them could fit in one human hair.

The voltage created by five nanogenerators matches that of two AA batteries. The nanowires could even be used in clothing in future to create current from body movements. In future, a person may decide to charge his phone by climbing stairs.

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