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Published on December 4th, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz


Future Cell Phones Could Be Powered by Sound Waves

December 4th, 2008 by  

cell phone

Think about how often your cell phone is plugged into a jack. What if there was a way to eliminate all that power use? There may be, according to Tahir Cagin, a professor at Texas A&M University. Cagin and his colleagues have discovered a way to power cell phones using sound waves produced by the user.

The researchers found that a certain kind of piezoelectric material (crystals or ceramics that generate voltage when mechanical stress is applied) is able to convert energy at a 100 percent increase when manufactured at approximately 21 nanometers in thickness. If the material is produced at a larger or smaller thickness, its energy-converting capacity diminishes.

Since many electronic devices—cell phones, laptops, and personal communicators included— contain elements measured in nanometers, Cagin’s discovery has huge implications.

Cagin’s technology is still in the research phase, but piezoelectrics are already found in microphones, quartz watches, and even cigarette lighters.

Photo Credit: MIT


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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.

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