The surge of systems devised to re-capture bodily output continues, this time with a nano-piezo technology that could use sound waves to charge cellphones. But how long must you talk before you can... talk?
Science Daily reports that Tahir Cagin, a professor in the chemical engineering department at Texas A&M, has merged the really old science of piezoelectrics with the very new science of nanotechnology to discover that a technique for harvesting energy actually gets way more efficient at the nano level. Specifically, when a piezoelectric film used to convert vibrations into energy is reduced to around 21 nanometers in thickness, it's suddenly twice as good at converting the energy.
There's not a lot of detail on the uses for this technology just yet, and—like other vibration-power systems—the earliest uses would probably be in very low energy applications such as sensors. But the article does suggest this could have "potentially profound effects for low-powered electronic devices such as cell phones, laptops, personal communicators and a host of other computer-related devices," though I wonder if that wasn't just thrown in to make people like me excited about it. It worked. I am. [Science Daily via TreeHugger]