Ever had a moment when you shouted at your phone in frustration? Well, scientists have decided to make use of the wasted sound energy with a new gadget in making which could soon charge mobile from sound.
Researchers from Queen Mary University and scientists from Nokia created an energy harnessing prototype device of the size of a mobile phone which could convert sound waves from speech or background noise into small five volts of electricity to charge the phone. 4 years ago Korean scientists had proposed and explain that it could be possible to generate electricity from sound, now it has come true.
Now scientists from London have succeeded in creating a working prototype. The invention they say was inspired by a previous research in which they found that playing pop and rock music improves the performance of solar cells. It was found vibrations from rock music triggered the solar cells to improve efficiency by up to 40%.
Electricity is generated via a piezoelectric effect where zinc oxide nanowires produces electricity.
Research was a combined effort of Queen Mary University and scientists from Nokia. Zinc oxide was used in the form of tiny nanorods. Zinc oxide produces an electric current when subject to mechanical stress. In this case mechanical stress from sound vibrations. The nanorods are so tiny that they will bend in response from the sound, hence creating the stress required to generate electricity.
Scientists created the nanorods by spraying a coating of zinc oxide onto a plastic sheet and placing the sheet in a mixture of chemicals and heating it to 90ºC (194ºF). Zinc oxide grew into an array of nanorods due to heat.Nanosheet was sandwiched between two aluminium electrical contact sheets to harvest the voltage generated. Gold is traditionally used as electrical contact but as a cost cutting technique the team were able to successfully produce a method of using cheap aluminum foil as a replacement for gold.
“Being able to keep mobile devices working for longer, or do away with batteries completely by tapping into the stray energy that is all around us is an exciting concept,” said QMUL’s Dr. Joe Briscoe. “We hope that we have brought this technology closer to viability.”
Hope one day we can use our smart phones endlessly without the hassle or worry about charging it everyday.