Human heart could power an iPod
Pump up the volume
Scientists have developed the first commercially viable nanogenerator, which could pave the way for the human heart to become a charger for our electrical gizmos.
The nanogenerator device is a flexible chip with millions of zinc oxide nanowires that when flexed induce a piezoelectric effect, delivering a tiny amount of electrical current.
Researchers at Georgia Tech have been working on the prototypes for six years and say that if placed in the perfect arrangement within layers of polymer material, they could be flexed to generate and capture electricity.
The chips are roughly a quarter of the size of a postage stamp. Stack five of them on top of each other and they can be used to generate the same voltage as two AA batteries. This can be produced simply by squeezing them together with your fingertips.
"Additional nanowires and more nanogenerators, stacked together, could produce enough energy for powering larger electronics, such as an iPod or charging a cell phone." said Zhong Lin Wang, who heads up the research.
In a presentation at an American Chemical Society meeting in California, Wang said the device is 150 times more powerful than early prototypes.
"This development represents a milestone toward producing portable electronics that can be powered by body movements without the use of batteries or electrical outlets… our nanogenerators are poised to change lives in the future. Their potential is only limited by one's imagination."
Of course, actually implementing these devices as coronary iPod chargers isn't a top priority, but Wang's idea of a heart powered nano chip to run an implanted insulin pump is a more serious suggestion likely to get medical attention. However, in time, we could see such piezoelectric nanogenerators put in the soles of our shoes, or utilising movement from rolling car tyres, even harnessing wind to deliver additional sources of energy. ®
Could it power-
"Similar arguement applies to attaching these things to the body."
Of course, but then the question is: how much of an effort is it? Will an additional thin layer in your show soles or on the fabric of your pants make a discernible difference?
Anyway, people are so fat nowadays that I'd say it's a GOOD idea to make them spend more energy by whatever means.
Paris because she spends a lot of energy.
I did think about the tyres
I did think of the tyres but dismissed them due to a short lifespan.
I suggested the shock absorbers since they are replaced at a far lower frequency than tyres while also only being stressed in one direction, tyres get flexed in all sorts of directions (while cornering etc) while this is fine for rubber a circuit similar to the one shown is probably designed to flex in one or 2 directions.
as an example I have just had to finally replace the rear shocks for the first time on my 20 year old range rover (not because they had failed but simply because the metal housing was rusting to nothing) in contrast I go through a set of tyres in around 2 years (sometimes less due to damage) If I was looking to add power generation to a part of a vehicle I would target something that will last a long time (to better offset the cost of the extra technology), also it would be far simpler to run wiring from the shocks to get hold of the power generated than it would from a tyre that by its very nature is rotating and moving up and down in relation to the rest of the vehicle.
the more I think about the tyre option the worse it sounds..
it wears out fast and is prone to damage, the only way of getting power generated by the tyre would be through some form of induction, this would mean that the car would have to be made to work with the tyre and would introduce drag from the induced current
In the referenced article
It states in the article that it produces only 1 micro ampere, (that's 5 stacked on each other). But they're only stamped sized, so you should be able to ramp that up.
Still a tiny amount though.
Are you sure about your Ipod requirements though? Since the battery is only around 1200mah (http://www.mdsbattery.co.uk/shop/productprofile.asp?ProductGroupID=1952), so your figure would surely suggest they only run for less than 2 hours before dying, as opposed to the 40 hours that websites seem to suggest (for music, 7 hours for videos)...
So for music I guess were looking at 30mah, which is about 84micro amps, so 420 of these little fellows (84 stacks of 5).
Which isn't too terrible, but isn't good enough to fit on the soles of your feet alone just yet.
Obviously rate at which they are being flexed will have an affect. Lots of unanswered questions, but they aren't completely unfeasible. A lot of places we would use them would have lots of mass (tire flexing as discussed) and so more than just stacks of 5 could be used)
Have a layer of these in the mattress and then plugged back into the grid. You and your partner can then get all hot and sweaty for the environment.