November 20th, 2012
Need to make a call but run out of juice? Just give your cellphone a shake for an extra burst of power – that’s the idea behind a new cellphone charger that turns movement into energy.
Shashank Priya and his colleagues at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg are designing an emergency onboard charger that draws energy from the piezoelectric force generated by your fingertips clicking the keypad, or just by giving the phone a good old shake.
The researchers mounted a sheet of piezoelectric polymer called PCT beneath the keys in a cellphone to see how well it converted vibrations from pressure waves into energy to power the phone.
In their experiment, the setup generated around 10 microwatts of electricity. That’s not nearly enough to continuously operate a phone, but Priya says it would be sufficient for an emergency situation.