Forget Solar Power, Human Power is the Future
That may be a little aggressive, but Princeton University engineers have developed a device that may change the way that we power many of our smaller gadgets and devices. By using out natural body movement, they have created a small chip that will actually capture and harness that natural energy to create enough energy to power up things such as a cell phone, pacemaker and many other small devices that are electronic.
The chip is actually a combination of rubber and ceramic nanoribbons. When the chip is flexed, it generates electrical energy. How will this be put to use? Think of rubber soled shoes that have this chip embedded into them and every time a step is taken, energy is created and stored. Just the normal walking around inside the office during a normal work day would be enough to keep that cell phone powered every day.
An application that has pacemaker users excited is the fact that this chip could be placed in proximity of the lungs and it would create natural power for their pacemakers. Currently, the only way to replace the battery is to go through another surgery, but the natural motion of the lungs would create enough movement to continuously power the device via this chip. Finally, only one surgery would be needed and unless there was actually a problem with the pacemaker itself, there would no longer be the need to go under the knife again.
This technology is an incredible development in that it can have so many different applications. The engineers at Princeton were able to combine the materials in a way that created an electric charge when pressure is applied to the chip. It actually converts about 80% of the mechanical energy into electrical energy. In the case of the pacemaker, this means a constant power source as the lungs would obviously continuously apply the pressure that was needed to create the energy.
Additionally, the new power chip is pretty much ready to go in regards to being an implant device. Because of the materials that it is made up of, the body should readily accept it without fear of rejection. When we think of how many varieties of medical devices that are available and require power sources, this is a truly amazing invention.
While it would appear that the technology itself is very futuristic, once it is able to be mass produced, it is probably reasonable to assume that the chips will not actually be all that expensive because of the materials that are being used in its construction. They may be a bit pricey when they first hit the market, but as they become more widely used and available, that price tag should come down.
Similar technology has already been introduced in other products, but nothing that has the flexibility of this product. Human power is nothing new, but to be able to have medical devices implanted that require nothing more than normal breathing or walking is quite amazing.