A new nanoscale generator has been created that can derive power from the movement of a human’s blood flow.
Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have perfected a machine that consists of a mesh of zinc oxide nanostructures, which generate electricity when flexed. The wires are arranged vertically half a micron apart.
As the structures bend they touch a small electrode and the current is passed on in usable form. On a full array the scientists think that such a system could produce 4 watts per cubic centimetre of volume.
“This is a major step toward a portable, adaptable and cost-effective technology for powering nanoscale devices,” said Zhong Lin Wang, Regents’ Professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
“There has been a lot of interest in making nanodevices, but we have tended not to think about how to power them. Our nanogenerator allows us to harvest or recycle energy from many sources to power these devices.”
The team envisages the system being used to power medical devices implanted in the human body, with larger ones built into shoes to generate current for media players. Even sound waves could be used to move the wires and thus generate power.
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