Princeton University engineers have found a way to harvest the energy from human movement such as walking, talking or breathing. Creepy? Well, yes, but it’s also very cool – they’ve created a way to turn silicone sheets into “piezoelectric” materials that generate electricity when flexed. In other words, silicon implants – or giant sheets of silicon fashioned into cloth – will be able to store the energy produced by every single thing we do, like the stillsuits from Dune, or some even nerdier sci-fi reference.
We don’t produce much electricity with just our regular movements, but the new implants can capture 80% of it – that’s enough to power an MP3 player, cell phone, or even a pacemaker! The latter is the most revolutionary – currently, when a pacemaker’s batteries need replacement, the patient has to to undergo surgery. With these new implants, a pacemaker’s batteries can be constantly recharged through, say, silicon implants against the patient’s lungs collecting the energy produced by natural breathing.
For those who actually understand such things, these implants represent the “first successful combination of silicone and nanoribbons made of lead zirconate titanate (PZT)”. Lead zirconate has piezoelectric characteristics that allow it to generate electricity when squeezed – again, 80% of that mechanical energy is converted to electrical energy, which is incredibly efficient.
Source & Image Source: PopSci