25-Aug-2011 12:11

Are you a Power Walker? Want to help the planet?

Wow... could this be feasible?

Apparently US researchers have developed a way to generate electricity from human motion.

Soon, activities: like going for a walk, playing sports or running to catch that elusive bus, may be sufficient to recharge your mobile phone.

Placed in a shoe the device captures the energy of moving micro droplets and converts it into electrical current.

Kinetic charging is already used in some low power devices such as watches and sensors.

According to Professor Tom Krupenkin of The University of Wisconsin’s mechanical engineering department team, "Humans, generally speaking, are very powerful energy-producing machines. While sprinting, a person can produce as much as a kilowatt of power."

That, according to the scientists, is more than enough to power a standard mobile phone.

Although similar methods exist for low power electronics, up until now there was no practical mechanical to electrical conversion technology that could provide such high levels of output, Prof Krupenkin explained.

"What's been missing is the power in the watts range," said Dr Ashley Taylor, a colleague of Prof Krupenkin.

"That's the power range needed for portable electronics."

On a larger scale, power-generating mats have been installed under the floors at two Tokyo train stations to capture the vibrations of the thousands of commuters.

The recovered energy is used to power a number of appliances, including the stations' automatic doors.

The new personal mechanism uses a principle known as "reverse electrowetting" - converting the energy of moving microscopic liquid droplets into an electrical current.

Once placed in a shoe, the device - which consists of thousands of these electrically conductive droplets - is able to generate electrical energy.

There is enough power, according to the researchers, to charge a standard mobile phone or laptop.

Getting the energy from the device to the handset presents another challenge.

One way is to plug a USB cable into the shoe - probably not the most practical option.

A more sophisticated solution suggested by the University of Wisconsin team is to have the electricity-generating device connected to a shoe-bound wireless transmitter.

This would take care of the power hungry part of a mobile phone's job - making radio contact with remote base stations.

Signals could be passed between the unit and the user's handset by more efficient short-range systems such as Bluetooth or wifi.

Happy power-walking folks... :-)

(Original Source: BBC)

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Contributed by Lin-Lee Aspin on 26-Aug-2011 09:45
Hi Norman,

A few years ago, I thought I saw Trevor Baylis, Inventor of the windup radio, with a device just like this, charging his mobile phone. Perhaps he only made one for himself.

It would be so useful.

Thanks for sharing.

Kindest regards,

Lin Aspin
www.getseen. tv
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