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Power From The Body

Obtaining power from the human body may sound like a crazy idea, but scientists have started to take this idea seriously.

There are various ways one can obtain power from the body such as heat, body movement and vibrations metabolism. One obvious form of energy harvesting is using well known piezo-electricity technology, which means converting human movements and vibrations into electricity.

Researchers from the University of Michigan have developed a prototype using piezoelectricty to charge pacemakers installed in human hearts. Generally, pacemakers are introduced to do the work of the heart which has become weak but patients face many and regular operations to replace worn-out batteries. Now scientists believe that it may be possible for a person’s own beating heart to generate enough electricity to power their own pacemaker device sparing them copious operations throughout their life.

This is possible because pacemakers require only tiny amounts of power to operate and tests simulated on the vibrations of a beating heart showed the energy harvester device generated more than 10 times the power required by current pacemakers. Dr Amin Karami at the University of Michigan, says a pacemaker that harvests the energy of the heartbeat itself might operate for a lifetime.

The technology finds more application outside the body too. Researchers working in the nanotechnology field are developing a power shirt which is woven from pairs of fibers coated with tiny strips of zinc oxide and gold. As one wears the shirt, it moves and the fibers rub against each other to produce power. “We could provide a flexible, foldable and wearable power source that, for example, would allow people to generate their own electrical current while walking”, says Prof Zhong Lin Wang of Georgia Institute of Technology.

Similar research was carried out in Britain at the University of Newcastle where they have created a device that acts as an energy source for a satellite navigation device. This device is fixed on the knee and consists of an outer ring and a central hub. As one walks the ring rotates and it plucks 5 piezoelectric arms on the hub generating electricity.

Scientists working in this field feel that, at some point, the power generated could potentially charge your mobile and could even boil your noodles!

The Daily Mail


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