Feeds

Boffins power wearable tech with body static

Fondle your phone for free electricity, thanks to the power of polydimethylsiloxane!

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

A group of Chinese researchers reckon they're close to a practical method of harvesting the static electricity you generate when tapping and swiping the screen of your smartphone as backup power for the phone itself.

As anyone who's jumped back swearing at their hand when all they wanted to do was open a door in the office can attest, the human body can build up a quite considerable static charges. Turning it into useful electricity, however, is a little more challenging.

A problem this research team, led by Peking University's Bo Meng, is trying to address is to make the generator efficient without requiring that it be grounded to earth.

In this paper at Applied Physics Letters, they outline their approach, in which rather than grounding their STEG (single-friction-surface triboelectric generator), the body is used as an electrode, as per this circuit diagram:

Bo Meng's triboelectric generator

(a) STEG with human body conduit and (b) the STEG with grounded

electrode when finger taps the friction surface donates electrons.

Image: Applied Physics Letters, 2014

As they write in their paper:

“When finger taps the friction surface and separates, the two contact surfaces compose a friction pair and get electrostatically charged owing to the difference in electron-attracting abilities ... finger skin shows a tendency to donate electrons in contact electrification. After electrostatically charged, it operates similarly as an out-of-plane gap closing electrostatic generator. Under repeated tapping and separating cycles, charge moves forward and back between the induction electrode and the charged finger skin via the external loads.”

Using a surface of micro-patterned polydimethylsiloxane, the researchers claim they were able to achieve an output voltage of 200V with a current density of 4.7 micro-Amps per square centimetre. That's not about to replace the battery on your laptop computer, but the researchers say “the STEG could be a potential power source for low-power electronics, especially for wearable devices”. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Software bug caught Galileo sats in landslide, no escape from reality
Life had just begun, code error means Russia's gone and thrown it all away
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.