Nanogenerator Magically Cranks Out Watts From the Environment

We're thinking this nanotechnology thing is catching on big-time. First someone figured out how to use the technology to keep panties fresh and odor-free, and now brilliant scientists have been developing small generators that might just be able to someday do away with batteries. They're first trying to develop a way to power those devices that are so minuscule you could fit thousands of them on the head of a pin.

The generator uses a clever technique of lining up zinc oxide nanowires inside of a special electrode, where those tiny filaments are sent into movement by forces such as ultrasonic waves, mechanical vibration, blood flow, or even movements such as walking. It doesn't sound like it's going to create a lot of electricity, but that'll be plenty of juice to power up cute little nanoscale robots, and even biosensors implanted in the human body.

But wait. These generators could be able to power so much more than that. You might even use this tech someday to power a cellphone. Really? Here's the best part:

Says Professor Zhong Lin Wang, one of the brains behind this mind-boggling breakthrough:

"If you had a device like this in your shoes when you walked, you would be able to generate your own small current to power small electronics. Anything that makes the nanowires move within the generator can be used for generating power. Very little force is required to move them."
What's the big deal? Simple: Look Ma, no batteries. – Charlie White

Nanogenerator provides continuous power by harvesting energy from the environment [Physorg.com]