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Published on February 12th, 2009 | by Ariel Schwartz


Researchers Test Hamster-Powered Nano Device

February 12th, 2009 by  

Researchers at Georgia Tech recently discovered that hamsters running on wheels are good for more than just a laugh— they can also drive nanogenerators to produce electric currents. While the electricity produced from hamster biomotions is small (one nanowatt), it may be enough to drive nano-sized devices.

The Georgia Tech team isn’t the first to harvest biomechanical energy at a specific frequency, but it is the first to harvest irregular motions.

The researchers’ nanogenerator uses a series of zinc-oxide nanowires mounted on a flexible plastic surface. When the plastic bends, the wires bend and an electric potential drives a current to an external electrical circuit.

While the nanogenerator only uses hamster-harvested energy for now, a similar device could one day be woven into human jackets to harvest energy for portable electronics.


Photo Credit: Georgia Tech 
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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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