By Stephen Schenck | May 9, 2011 11:43 AM
Creative minds have come up with plenty of ways to get you out of a jam where your smartphone is dead and you haven’t any access to a power outlet. You could use a solar panel to trickle-charge your phone, or maybe turn a hand-cranked dynamo for an extra boost of juice. Wouldn’t it be great, though, if there was a way to keep your smartphone charged without having to carry around extra gear, or leave it sitting out in the sun; some way of getting power that you wouldn’t have to worry about at all? There’s work being done now that may present the solution, letting a phone generate power with the sound of your own voice.
The idea of grabbing bits of power from the everyday things that mobile devices are exposed to is nothing new; automatic watches have been keeping themselves wound by weights harnessing casual wrist movement for years. The tech behind this sound-based design is being developed by a team of Korean researchers. The system they’re working on uses sound waves to compress and release tiny zinc oxide wires, generating a small current in the process. Right now, it’s not enough to be much use, but refining the technique with higher-efficiency materials could make it feasible to keep a battery charged.
While your voice would be the most obvious source of sound to power such a system, any ambient noise would do. Just leaving your smartphone in a room with a TV on might someday be enough to top-off its battery. There’s no telling if something like this will ever be adopted for a commercial product, but if the tech matures enough, we just might see something like it a few years down the road.
Source: The Telegraph