World Bulletin / News Desk
British scientists have built a novel device that converts body movement into electricity capable of powering small gadgets such as GPS trackers.
The device, unveiled this week in the July issue of the journal Smart Materials and Structures, is designed to be worn on the knee and harnesses the energy produced by walking.
The journal said it could be used by the military to reduce the number of heavy batteries -- each weighing up to 10 kg (20 lb) -- that soldiers carry on foot patrol.
It was created by researchers at the Universities of Cranfield, Liverpool and Salford, originally with funding from the UK Ministry of Defence. The researchers estimate it could retail for 10 pounds ($16) if produced on an industrial scale.
The "energy harvester" is based on so-called piezoelectric materials that have long been used in sonar sensors and ultrasound scanners and have become the focus of energy generation research in recent years.
Scientists at Princeton University and the California Institute of Technology used a similar technology two years ago to develop electricity-generating rubber sheets.
The novelty of the British device is the way it uses the body's movements to generate power.
An outer ring that rotates as the knee joint moves is fitted with 72 plectra that in turn move four energy-generating arms called bimorphs attached to an inner hub. The vibration generates the electricity.
Michele Pozzi, who led the development project, said researchers were looking at ways to make the device cheaper and more portable.
"There is an on-going project looking at manufacturing a more compact and truly wearable harvester," the journal's website quoted Pozzi as saying. "At the moment we are using precise but cost-effective manufacturing techniques for the plectra and casing and anticipate that remaining parts will be moulded industrially, slashing the cost."
At the moment, the piece can harvest about two milliwatts of power but the researchers believe this could exceed 30 milliwatts with a few enhancements, enough for the latest GPS tracking devices.
The gadget could also have uses in medical monitoring devices, he said.
Lawsuit sheds light on no poaching policy at Silicon Valley’s biggest companies
Searches for oncoming storms will display information such as maps, forecasts, reminders and preparedness instructions
New service unveiled as survey finds Americans having hard time navigating smartphone etiquette
Turkcell, Vodafone and Avea bid total of over €1.14 billion for the right to use frequencies on the new network
Petition 'will present at least two substantial questions concerning design-patent liability and damages'
The Istanbul Electric Tram and Tunnel Company plans to launch one solar-powered bus on Thursday and several more in the coming days
Roughly 70 million tonnes of fibres are traded globally per year, but nearly two thirds are made from non-renewable products like petroleum and natural gas.
Researchers havfe said that the flaw leaves data stored by apps vulnerable with almost every category of app considered vulnerable
SpaceX revealed Monday that it is building a test track for the Hyperloop, a concept for ultra-fast ground transport the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, unveiled.
Biologists have created chicken embryos with dinosaur-like faces by tinkering with the molecules that build the birds' beaks.
Product available for pre-order in nine countries but devices won’t ship for weeks.
Nobel Prize-winning scientists' discovery can be manufactured cheaper thanks to Nanografi process.
Most industry experts expect the first product of 5G technology in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
The slowdown in the rate of rising temperatures, from faster gains in the 1980s and 1990s, has puzzled scientists because heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions
The discovery challenges currently held theories that black holes and their host galaxies grew in relative lockstep over the eons.
Australian researchers are developing the new way to have a final product for Boeing Co, Airbus Group NV, very quickly than now. 3D printing can cut production times for components from three months to just six days.