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Scientists have found a way to generate energy from walking


The electrically conductive fluid helped U.S. scientists have created a device that could recharge virtually any personal devices on the go.

A few years ago showed that each human foot contact with the ground generates about 20 watts. Meanwhile, the majority of mobile devices to work fairly stable from 1 to 15 watts.

Engineers for several years trying to redirect the vanishing power capacity in a useful direction. But so far nobody has been able to get any meaningful way. Piezoelectric materials generate current with changes in the shape, give a hundred mill watts, which is not enough to charge the batteries.

Tom Krupenkin and Ashley Taylor of the University of Wisconsin in Madison went the other way. They used the technology of electrowetting (electrowetting) and brought together as electrodes to increase the power of the hypothetical personal charger that fits into your shoes, up to 10 watts. Electrowetting physicists call the process when a drop of conductive material, placed in the electrode begins to deform under the action of the charge (wet surface). In some cases, the electrodes are coated with a dielectric material that does not conduct current, but is polarized in an external electric field.

Tom and his colleagues are thinking to reverse the process: making the deformed drop, sandwiched between two plates coated with a dielectric, generate charge and, as a result, the electrical energy. “We decided to make an electric motor” – compares the scientist.

To test how this approach has the right to life, the engineers placed along the channel width of a few millimeters electrode coated with a thin layer of tantalum oxide dielectric. Drops of mercury and served generator of electric charge, which through the resistor was converted into alternating current.
The yield of energy increases proportionally to the number of drops. At the moment, American physicists can boast significant achievements: 150 drops were given only a few mill watts.


But extrapolation showed that a thousand drops (which can be accommodated on an area of ​​40 square centimeters) can generate 10 watts of power. This is enough to recharge a mobile phone, and military radio or GPS-navigator, and even a small laptop. Just need to trample on the spot, and low battery problem will disappear by itself.

Krupenkin patented his invention and formed a company to commercialize the InStep NanoPower future development. Prospective buyers of the finished product he calls the people in developing countries who do not have regular access to a common grid.