Charging your phone battery with noise

(m) at 12-05-2011 12:23PM (8 years ago)

(1374 | Gistmaniac)

Scientists have developed a device powered by noise to charge a phone battery, reports Jayne Augoye

Picture something in your mind. You are about to make an urgent phone call, retrieve a phone number or read an urgent text message. But just as you make to reach for your phone, you discover that its battery is down.

As frustrating as this experience may be, you may not always have to fumble to the nearest electric power point – which may not really be there, especially if you are in Nigeria where electricity supply is epileptic. All you have to do is let out a deafening scream which automatically charges your phone battery. The idea sounds funny but it is actually the result of a new invention by a researcher at the Institute of Nanotechnology at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, South Korea, Dr. Sang-Woo Kim.

This discovery was made after new methods for using environment energy had been investigated. The thrust of the report of the research is that electricity can be generated to charge phones using human voice or the walls that insulate sound on highways.

The new device will allow mobile phones to be recharged simply by talking into them. According to Kim, it turns sound into electricity, allowing a mobile to be powered up while a conversation is in progress – and the greater the volume the greater the charge. He also hints that with future projects, “Sound power can be used for various novel applications, including cellular phones that can be charged during conversations and sound-insulating walls near highways that generate electricity from the sound of passing vehicles.”

The technology is said to have the ability to turn sound into electricity, allowing a mobile to be powered up while a conversation is in progress with the only snag being that the greater the volume the greater the charge. It could also be used to power up personal music players, raising the possibility of charging an iPod by singing along to your favourite songs.

Kim is quoted in as saying, “A number of approaches for scavenging energy from environments have been intensively explored. The sound that always exists in our everyday life and environments has been overlooked as a source. This motivated us to realise power generation by turning sound energy from speech, music or noise into electrical power.”

Kim’s device employs tiny strands of zinc oxide, the main ingredient of calamine lotion – sandwiched between two electrodes. A sound-absorbing pad on top vibrates when sound waves hit it, causing the tiny zinc oxide wires to compress and release. This generates electrical current that can then be used to charge a battery. Surprisingly, the device can convert sounds of around 100 decibels – the equivalent of noisy traffic, a passing train or a nearby lawnmower – into a mild electrical current. Interestingly, a cosmopolitan city such as Lagos is bound to get traffic eager to tap into this discovery.

Although this is not yet enough to charge a phone properly, the inventors are hopeful that altering the material the wires are made from will allow them to produce more energy at lower sound levels. Other ideas for the technology in the nearest future include scavenging the sound produced by motorway traffic at rush hour and using it to give the national grid a boost.

This in turn will have the added benefit for nearby homes of reducing the amount of traffic noise that escapes. Over time, practical tests have shown that the technology can generate 50 millivolts of electricity, using about 100 decibel, a value usually recorded during noisy traffic. However, some people might tend to shout while talking on the phone as they try to generate extra power to charge their device. This could constitute a downside for this technology. Unfortunately since 50 millivolts is not enough to charge a phone fully, Woo Kim’s team hopes they can use other materials to manufacture the wires and thus produce more energy using lower sound levels. They are planning to produce more efficient sound-driven nanogenerators in the future.

However, this is not the first time an attempt to generate electricity using non-conventional energy sources has been made. Recently, MP3 players that can be powered by heartbeats, were invented while Nokia has also created movement energy harvesting devices similar to kinetically powered watches.

In spite of the humour and absurdity that trail the device, densely populated areas will definitely be the first port of call for anyone willing to charge his or her phone. With this development, noise pollution may also be on the increase, as erratic power supply is bound to get a number of persons jumping aboard this discovery.

In the U.S. on the other hand, scientists are currently working on a gadget that converts the movement of the knees while walking into electricity. The knee brace harvests energy generated when someone bends their knee to take a step. The device, when fully developed, will allow commuters to charge their mobile phones while dashing for the train. It can also help soldiers cut down on the number of batteries they need to carry into battle.

itoroesie (m) at 12-05-2011 12:55PM
(349 | Upcoming)

still reading............
dickman2 (m) at 26-08-2012 08:26AM
(34105 | Addicted Hero)

no comment.