"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.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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