Future Tech: Nanowires Could Run Gadgets on Blood Flow Power


Imagine charging your iPod or cellphone just by jumping on the treadmill and getting your heart pumping faster. Sounds far fetched, but according to researchers at the School of Material Science and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, it's also feasible. The researchers say they can convert low-frequency vibrations, like body movements or the beating of a heart, into electricity by using zinc oxide nanowires to conduct the electricity.

"This research will have a major impact on defense technology, environmental monitoring, biomedical sciences, and even personal electronics," said lead researcher Zhong Lin Wang .

The nanowires are piezoelectric, meaning they generate electric energy when subjected to mechanical stress. They can be grown on metals, ceramics, polymers, and clothing. By developing them into production, Wang and company say they could be used by military troops to run electronic devices. Wang also pointed out the possibility of powering biosensors implanted under the skin. All it takes to generate energy is movement.

No announcement has been made on when to expect commercial development, however there's no lack of funding for the work, which includes the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation.

Sounds bloody amazing, eh?

Image Credit: Gary Meek/Georgia Tech via LiveScience

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