Technology

Can Chatting on Your Cell Phone Cause It to Recharge? Researcher Says Yes

DiscoblogBy Boonsri DickinsonDec 4, 2008 12:22 AM

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Tired of running out of cell phone juice in the middle of a conversation? A professor at Texas A&M University may have just the answer for turning your chatter into power. Chemical engineering professor, Tahir Cagin is using piezoelectrics, a material made of either crystals or ceramics, to generate electricity. Piezoelectrics were used in World War I in sonar devices. Today, they’re found in microphones, inkjet printers, and even cigarette lighters. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is making a shoe with piezoelectrics that can change the energy created by walking into electric power for charging soldiers' equipment. Some European clubseven use them to transform the dance power from late night partiers into power to light up the club. Cagin discovered that when piezoelectrics are small and thin (between 20 and 23 nanometers to be exact), twice the amount of energy is created. By finding the ideal length, he was able to convert the mechanical energy it creates into electric power. Before the material appears in a cell phone, researchers will have to get a better grip on how to use it on the nano scale. After all, when materials are small, they can do some pretty weird things. Related Content: DB: Protect Your Phone With Shock-Absorbing Nanotubes DB: Worst Science Article of the Week: Use a Cell Phone, Damage Your Baby DISCOVER: Gallery: 9 Best Nanotechology-Powered Products

Image: flickr / qwurky

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