Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Feb 19

Forget Solar Power, Human Power is the Future

Posted in Energy Inventions | Future Technology | Human Power

Human Power 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.

  • mshel

    Woohoo, yay and Well done. It reminds me of one of my moments of inspiration. It was to generate Electricity, using technology found in Watches in the ‘Seventies’, that allowed one to rewind it, by movement. I thought that this sort of technology could be used in a bracelet/anklet. Another idea was to use pendulum motion to generate a charge. a set of electronic tassels, that could be attached to anything ie: pram, bike, car mirror, jacket. The electricity could be stored in rechargeable Coin cells, or fed directly into a device.

  • L.Kassahun

    Very very interesting now we are on the verge that energy lost by any movement is under control.I think if we combine this instrument with plants there will be more and beside there is a probability for improvement with the wind and the wave on the surface of water but with human may be an effect a little like a person who wear hard cloth and very soft specifically on the joint part

  • Mr.Jama

    Well Done … an amazing invention… I think it needs more research to make sure how to implant this chip in the human body safely and efficiently.

  • Marilyn Walker

    Well done! On the other hand, no reason to “forget solar” or “forget wind” just because we’ve found something new that fills a completely different niche. A sustainable world will require hybrid systems and various technologies.

  • Diana

    Wow isn’t amazing the strides that science is taking these days? It’s great that someone is developing a product that does so much good and that hopefully it will be affordable to the masses. I wonder if its application could be applied to someone with psuedochronic intestinal disorder. I know someone who’s intestines have no motility or perstolic action and they live on liquid nutrition through an IV because the intestines don’t have enough motion to push and digest the food through the digestive track.

  • K Van Kirk

    Hopefully medical device companies will embrace this technology. As of now, they get a good share of their profits from changing out generators in devices like pacemakers, and may not be receptive to technology taking a cut of their profits.

  • jockum

    Wave tech. Thats it. Constant movement.

  • Gary Schabel

    Give me a break! A typical human briskly climbing stairs generates about 200 watts. Do this for about 5 hours and you will generate about 15 cents worth of electricity. This could be good for pace makers, etc. but not much else.

  • Adam

    Well, it’s about time! I’ve been talking about this idea to my friends for years! What about all those treadmills and exercise bikes that go nowhere and do nothing but waste human potential energy? Maybe there’s not a lot of kW to be collected but something’s better than nothing and it’s all about collective energy not just single source energy. Even if you can only charge your mobile phone or camera, etc, it all adds up and you can get fit at the same time. We need to be observant and capture all sources of energy, not wasting it for mono-purpose activities.

  • El Bilson

    That’s cool – it’ll be interesting to see how far they get with it!

  • four2o

    Very cool! But i do see it getting to pricey to use. Just think of the applications. It can be put in anything that moves. including car tires, car steering column, car door, car window, car brakes! thats just a lit’ bit for cars. This is a great achievement!

  • Erin Aadalen

    I think its a really good idea, and I’ve been thinking a while about stationary bikes and ellipticals that are powered solely by human power and yet no energy is produced, I think it would be a good idea to some how use all that potential energy to power parts of a gym. I think this is a very innovative idea that has the potential to go far!

  • Erin Aadalen

    I think this is a really great idea!! If this product keeps being developed, it could start to combat Americas energy crisis as well as the rising obesity rate.

  • Katie Dunn

    My husband and I had just been talking about finding a way to generate and power cell phones, etc, when there is no sunshine. We are always moving, surely we can invent a way to harness our energy. Seems like someone beat us to it. I would like to know when it will be available.

  • aswani kumar

    I agree with mr.jama.

    Even though its extraordinary invention it much be checked thoroughly before the actual implementation.

  • Jayant Ingolikar

    Yes, I also perceive the idea of utilization of human power for electricity. I propose to generate electricity on large scale using human energy and combining solar energy with it. The concept has working potential and it is quite possible to realize what I propose. The concept should prove to be revolutionary in the field of power. The only thing I need to have a position and a suitable platform to establish what I propose. Will the reader of my comment suggest me the way to fulfill my requirements of position and platform.

  • Martin

    I was just wondering.. if the chip were to be bigger would it in fact be able to produce more electricity? Also does anyone know of many more types of small scale “Kinetic to electricity” products? I’m doing a project on it, would help loads

Meet the ELF: A Pedal-Powered, Solar-Electric Hybrid

The Elf

Described as the “most efficient vehicle on the planet”, The ELF is a solar and pedal-powered hybrid tricycle hand-built in the United States by Organic Transit. It is available in

Energy-Recycling Artificial Foot

Energy-Recycling Artificial Foot

It should come as no great surprise that walking with a prosthetic limb is difficult. According to a newly published paper on prosthesis, walking with a prosthetic foot requires

The Pedal-A-Watt Stationary Bicycle Generator

The Pedal-A-Watt Stationary Bicycle Generator

Today’s twin goals of keeping fit while doing something good for the planet by creating electricity without any pollution come together in a product that has been around for

Pedal Powered Laptops in Afghanistan

Pedal Powered Laptops in Afghanistan

While there are solar powered laptops that will allow a computer to be powered without an energy source, not everyone may be able to afford them. There was

Human Powered Workout Gym Concept

Human Powered Workout Gym Concept

When we look closely at human history we can easily conclude that locomotion is one of the most primordial needs. But our current lifestyle does not allow us with

150MPG Human Powered Goblin Aero

150MPG Human Powered Goblin Aero

Goblin Motors’ new line of human powered vehicles are coming online February 2009. These vehicles, known as velomobiles, allow a single occupant to travel faster than a bicycle using

Pedal Power Dynapod

Pedal Power Dynapod

A dynapod is a stationary pedal-powered device. The word ‘Dynapod’ comes from the Greek words for power and foot. The dynapod can be attached to any kind of device or

The Bicycle: An Environmental Hero

The Bicycle: An Environmental Hero

Bicycle sales have been booming in North America in recent years, with some sources saying high gas prices may be responsible for the trend. Bike shops are reporting high