What if you could charge your phone by simply tapping on the touchscreen display — never having to worry about plugging it in — or add more juice to your laptop every time you typed? New developments in piezoelectric technology at the RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia have brought those dreams closer to a reality. Researchers there have been able to create a new thin piezoelectric film that is capable of turning those taps, or “mechanical pressure,” into electricity. “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,” lead co-author, Dr. Madhu Bhaskaran, said in the report, which was published in the July issue of Advanced Functional Materials. The technology isn’t quite there yet; Bhaskaran said that the next step will be using the piezoelectric materials to generate enough electricity to actually power our devices, and then building them into “low-cost, compact, structures.” We’re dreaming up super thin devices with minuscule batteries that are always on, but the report didn’t suggest how long it will take for that fiction to become fact.
[Via Fast Company]