Thin film peizoelectrics can make power while you work

Research could herald notebooks powered by typing

Researchers at an Australian university are working on powering electronic devices by the action of typing or walking thanks to the electrical generation capability of piezoelectrics.

Researchers at the RMIT University in Melbourne explored the combination of piezeoelectrics, materials capable of converting pressure into electricity energy, with thin film technology from microchip manufacturing.

The results published in the Advanced Functional Materials journal assessed a number of different mechanisms for ‘microscale energy scavenging systems’ to generate electrical current through a variety of mechanisms including typing on a keyboard or walking.

It wont be a lot of power but with advances in power consumption the research suggests a possible array of future devices capable of being powered without ever needing to be recharged.

"The power of piezoelectrics could be integrated into running shoes to charge mobile phones, enable laptops to be powered through typing or even used to convert blood pressure into a power source for pacemakers – essentially creating an everlasting battery," said report co-author Dr Madhu Bhaskaran.

"The next key challenge will be amplifying the electrical energy generated by the piezoelectric materials to enable them to be integrated into low-cost, compact structures," they said.

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