Friction may charge future devices

Sections: Cellphones, Gadgets / Other, Mobile, Mobile Computers, Smartphones

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credit: Mmckinley

Since the beginning of my wireless life, nothing has frustrated me more than a dead battery.  Sure, it’s devastating to experience the dreaded blank screen of death, but what I really despise is having to stay stagnant while your phone charges to an acceptable percentage.  Whether you charge your phone with a cord or inductive station, you’re stuck.  Researchers at Georgia Tech are developing a solution to charge future devices with friction. MIT Technology Review’s Katherine Bourzac gives a brief description of how it works:

“this static charge phenomenon, called the triboelectric effect, can be harnessed to produce power using a type of plastic, polyethylene terephthalate, and a metal. When thin films of these materials come into contact with one another, they become charged. And when the two films are flexed, a current flows between them”

This is still a very new technology and, like all scientific endeavors, may not work in practical settings.  Should this experiment prove successful, the benefits would be huge.  This technology could be used for other battery charged devices as well.  Future iterations may prove beneficial in developing countries where electricity is scarce.  While early examples may not be as effective as plugging your device in, you may be able to stave off device death by simply taking a jog. Finally we can run through a crowd with impunity and respond to disparaging glances with a proud, “I’m charging!!”

Via [MIT Technology Review]

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