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