Disney Develops Energy-Harvesting Finger-Touch Tech
The Paper Generator harvests energy when the user rubs, taps, or slides a finger over a thin sheet of Teflon sandwiched between two thin sheets of reactive material. Invented by researchers at Disney Research, the technology could be used to power small devices or interactive technologies for e-games or displays. (Source: Disney Research)
It is common knowledge that our bodies have some electricity but who would have thought our fingers could be used to generate energy and not simply control its flow. Fingers work with energy everyday starting from simple operations like flipping a switch to light a bulb. Now they actually light a bulb using their own energy.
You make a good point, Habib. Laptop batteries have indeed improved a lot over time but I still think they can be better. I recently bought a new Mac that has a two-hour-longer battery life than my old Mac and I definitely feel the difference, but I still could use even more juice sometimes.
As a side note, laptop batteries have improved significantly since the release of 4th Gen processors. Intel claimed that it would increase the battery life by around 50%. Well the 50% case does not remain valid under all situations but yes battery life for laptops using 4th gen processor has increased. I am myself using a 4th gen processor and finally I am satisfied with my laptop's battery life.
A team of researchers from Australia's RMIT University have been working on the concept of everlasting battery, and they think this possible. Their research has focused on studying how much energy can be captured using this method and currently around 1/10th the amount needed to power your average gadget is produced. Their next step would be to figure out on how to amplify the power stored, so it could be useful. So work is being done in the similar lines. It will take some time before this technology actually takes a proper shape but will be worth the wait.
Ann, you make a good point about Disney--I wasn't aware they were involved in much research, either! That alone was news to me. The fact that it's pretty interesting and forward-thinking (as well as environmentally friendly) as well was also a surprise.
That's really interesting, Habib. Are you or do you know of anyone working on this technology? I could see that really being useful, as laptop batteries still drain too quickly for the real power computer user.
There is a similar idea circulating around where power can be generated from keyboard strokes and mouse movement. Piezoelectric crystals can be used for power generation. This can be deployed in laptops and can be used to increase battery's running time.
I think my favorite energy-harvesting stories are like this one: the device requires very little input energy to do something both noticeable and useful. And who knew that Disney was involved in research?
"That sounds like a recipe for a perpetual motion machine. I'm waiting to see the prototype. On the other hand, if you have an idea how I can harvest my 3 boys' excess energy for useful purpose (there is plenty, efficiency is not an issue), then you have my full and undivided attention."
Batter, I had seen similar thing in Chinese toys, but not fully self powered. Toys have some mechanical keys and we have to tight the key for starting. When it performs, the mechanical movements are converting into electrical energy for performing other functionalities like sound, light, obstruct detection etc. The drawback is while performing, the key will rotate in ant-clock wise direction and decreases to zero, where the toy stops. We have to restart the same program.
One way to keep a Formula One racing team moving at breakneck speed in the pit and at the test facility is to bring CAD drawings of the racing vehicleís parts down to the test facility and even out to the track.
Most of us would just as soon step on a cockroach rather than study it, but thatís just what researchers at UC Berkeley did in the pursuit of building small, nimble robots suitable for disaster-recovery and search-and-rescue missions.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies.
You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived.
So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.