The MacGuffin

Wave Goodbye to Battery Power

Posted by Lauren Rugani on April 3, 2009

Photo Credit: Georgia Institute of Technology

Photo Credit: Georgia Institute of Technology

Electronic devices and their various components are getting smaller by the day. While some technologies like cell phones and ipods are still large enough to incorporate industry-standard batteries; others, like environmental and biological sensors are small enough to be implanted under the skin or be mistaken for a piece of dust – but still need a reliable and size-compatible power source.

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology might have found a solution: nanowires that generate electricity in response to a broad range of movements like a waving hand or a heartbeat. These nanogenerators produce power continuously so outlet power or even rechargeable batteries are unnecessary. They found that zinc-oxide nanowires were best suited for this application because they are flexible, easy to “grow” and operate effectively in air or liquid environments.

Because the nanowires respond to low-frequency movements, they have a wide range of potential applications from environmental sciences to defense applications like sensing bioterror agents to powering personal electronics. Although they show a lot of promise, the researchers are still working to improve output power and voltage, so no nanowire-powered cars just yet.

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One Response to “Wave Goodbye to Battery Power”

  1. Nuno said

    Nice post Lauren! I like the name of your blog as well! Keep it up!

    We should all start science blogs and defeat the conventional news media so we can get a job or something 😉

    Nuno

    PS: It´s so funny you credited me in your profile picture (you look great!)

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