The best battery is one that lasts forever. The runner-up is one that charges because you're using the device it powers. And Australian researches are trying to make the latter a more mainstream reality.
These researchers from Down Under, at RMIT University to be exact, are using piezoelectricity to power mobile devices with thin, pressure-sensitive films on the device's touchscreen. Their claim—at least according to Dr. Madhu Bhaskaran, a lead co-author of the study—is that thin films are the only (and easiest) way to get self-powering devices into the hands of the electronic-obsessed mass market:
Our study focused on thin film coatings because we believe they hold the only practical possibility of integrating piezoelectrics into existing electronic technology
The implications of something like this are pretty much endless because it could theoretically be incorporated into any electronic device:
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
Seriously, how great would it be to get so into that game of Fruit Ninja, nearly breaking the screen with how hard you're pressing, that you end up fully charing your phone? [PhysOrg via IEEE Spectrum]