Apr 01
Image: Georgian Institute of Technology

Image: Georgian Institute of Technology

I love mobility in terms of tiny devices that I can bring with me everywhere. I don’t go far without at least having my mobile phone with me and most of the times I also bring my mp3 player. I walk around in my own little world with my favourite tune playing in my ear and just a push of a button away from talking with my friends or checking my e-mail. Then it happens… my mp3 player runs out of battery and I’m stuck on the subway listening to all kind of stupid conversations people around me are having on their phones. I fetch the phone from my pocket to call some friends, but WTF the phone is out of battery too!

How could situations like this be avoided? Off course I could remember to charge all my devices before I leave my apartment but I seldom do. I don’t like the fact that I need to connect all my devices/gadgets to the charger. It’s a mobility killer! Wouldn’t it be fantastic to never need to worry about running out out power? This could be reality, the only question is when will it happen?

I have known about the nanotechnology for a while but only for a few days ago I read some articles stating that this might be possible in the near future.

Zhong Lin Wang has done some experiences with creating a nano-generator. He found that when disturbing zinc oxide nanowires, they give off a tiny electrical current, a phenomenon called piezoelectricity. Lately they (researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology) have been able to increase the amount of power produced by their nano-generator. Still it’s only a very small amount of power that can be produced but they are getting there.

A single nanowire can only produce around half a picowatt, or one hundred billionths of a watt. But 200 nanowires can be squeezed into a 10 square micron area, to produce 10 picowatts. That is enough to power a nanoscopic device like a nanotube-based gas sensor, the researchers say.

nano technology

Hopefully sometime in the future they will be able to generate enough power so that a nano-generator could be placed in devices like mobile phones and mp3 players.

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