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)
"you make a very good point. If enough power could be generated to power the entire toy and not just some kind of light or gizmo on the top, then this technology would be even more useful."
Elizabeth, I had seen similar thing in Chinese toys. Toys are working with a mechanical key and we have to key it before it starts. When it performs, the mechanical movements are converting into electrical energy for performing other functionalities like sound, light, obstruct detection etc.
Conductive paints sound like a really interesting idea, too, Jack B. And a company called Pavegen already has invented energy-harvesting tiles that use people's footfalls, which is really quite cool: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=262295
It will be interesting to see where this could lead to in the future. With conductive paints, and paper circuits the printed page may never be the same. Scaling it up you could harvest the energy of people walking over a surface or traffic rolling over a highway. Great write-up!
Great idea. As for the TV watching, I rarely watch, but the TV is 200+ channels of uselessness. When I do sit down to watch, the remote is in constant use channel surfing. I usually end up turning off the TV and working on one of my hobbies.
you say " Some mechanism for converting the toy activity to a self powering mode will be very good"
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.
Now that is a fine idea, GTOLover. How annoying is it to continuously push the button of the remote to try to change a channel with no success and then realize you're out of batteries and have to go searching around for some. I'm sure that can be done.
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In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
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