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. More →
Believe it or not, Christmas is but 11 weeks away which means that every single tech company on the planet is going to be lighting up our inboxes with press releases about their holiday offerings. The first company to do this for 2009 is T-Mobile. Apart from another chance to get us bloggers talking about the Behold II and the Motorola CLIQ, T-Mobile took the opportunity to introduce two new handsets and a limited edition collaboration piece. The first new handset is the Nokia 3711, a 3G clamshell affair with a 2 megapixel camera, GPS by Telenav, and stereo Bluetooth. The second is the T-Mobile Tap. Presumably made by HTC based upon its appearance, the Tap is an “affordable and attractive” full-touchscreen featurephone that, like the 3711 has 3G, a 2 megapixel camera, stereo Bluetooth and GPS by Telenav. New in another sense of the word is the myTouch 3G Fender Limited Edition. With only 10,000 to be offered sometime this winter, the Fender myTouch 3G sports a “guitar-inspired wood-grain finish”, 16GB microSD card filled with a bunch of music and videos not a soul alive won’t delete, and *gasp* a 3.5mm headphone jack. What do we think, people?