It's rare to go an entire day without recharging your smart phone. But what if there were a way to charge up without plugging in?
Engineer Zhong Lin Wang and his team at Georgia Tech have found a way to harness the energy of everyday movements to power small electronic devices.
"As long as there is motion, you can generate electricity," said Wang.
There is friction everywhere, even when we're walking or driving. Wang's idea is to get rid of the battery itself using self-powering nanotechnology. For example, a nano-generator attached to a shoe can generate enough electricity to charge a cell phone in 30 to 40 minutes.
So far, the biggest challenge for Wang and his team of researchers has been increasing the output power.
When they first began experimenting with attaching nanogenerators to shoes, the output was small. Now, thanks to nano-generators, they have increased the output over one thousand times by using nano-materials, which are not exotic or expensive. To produce these tiny generators, the researchers utilized plastic materials and commercial metals, such as aluminum and copper.
Nanotechnology is becoming more important, and there are an increasing number of useful applications for it. Everything from medical devices to airplanes are beginning to incorporate this revolutionary technology. We may be on the verge of a new technological era, and it fits on your toenail.