Tech has improvised exponentially which is obvious in the fact that people started carrying on three electronic-devices wherever they go – smartphone, smartwatch, and Bluetooth earphones. It often could be annoying for users to ensure that each of the devices are charged for a full-day use. Getting rid of that, researchers have built a tiny technological device that enables wearables like Smartwatch and earbuds to charge on its own, but with a condition that you need to walk.
Walking not only could boost your own energy, but also the electronic devices you hold. Scientists from Osaka Metropolitan University, Japan made a significant advance towards wearable devices by making them self-chargeable while walking with their new invention of a dynamic magnifier-enhanced piezoelectric vibration energy harvester. The device quashed the previous records of piezoelectric by amplifying the power generated from impulsive vibrations like human walking by about 90 times.
Before we head on to know how they made it possible, let’s first be introduced with piezo-electric.
Piezoelectric effect is a phenomenon in which specific types of materials produce and electric charge or voltage in response to applied pressure. The applied pressure, however needs to be non-stationary, meaning it has to be constantly changing.
Normally piezoelectric (PZT) produces to a maximum of 2mW that could charge a 40mAh button cell battery in one hour. Also, according to a report, it can produce 8.4W of usable power if it’s mounted in a shoe-surface. But this new magnified piezo harvester is expected to outperform even though being small enough to fit into an earbud.
Piezo Device that Charges Wearables
The Osaka team has developed a microelectromechanical system (MEMS) piezoelectric vibration energy harvester that measures only 2cm in diameter (approximately) with a U-shaped metal component called a dynamic magnifier. As said earlier, this makes the harvester to convert impulsive vibrations into power 90 times better than the conventional piezo devices.
The U-shaped metal amplifies the vibration without the need of increasing the size of the device. The tech realm is expected to go widely around, owing to the potentials of generating power to charge wearables just by walking motion.
Prior to this, scientists from Tokyo University of Science had created a wearable bio-fuel device that charges other small electronic devices from human sweat. Now, it’s time for ‘human walk’. Maybe they should combine both sometime in future.
Though, the University hadn’t provided how much charge the device could generate in a given period of time for now, they did mention that the team is hopeful of effecting this device to charge even smartphones (5-10W normally) on their own while walking.
Isn’t that great to have gadgets that charges on its own, while we are walking? People might get rid of diabetes, if it happens.