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Soon you can use traffic noise, music, chants from a football ground and even your own voice to charge your cell phone. Thanks to the efforts of the Scientists from Nokia and Queen Mary University who have successfully charged a phone using zinc oxide nanowires that convert sound-caused vibrations into electricity — called the piezoelectric effect.
Zinc Oxide, when squashed or stretched creates a voltage by converting energy from motion into electrical energy, in the form of nanorods. These nanorods were sprayed onto a plastic sheet and used a mixture of chemicals and heat ed to 90 deg. C to grow an array of nanochemicals. The resulting nanorod sheet was then placed between two electrical contact sheets, made with ordinary aluminum foil, where they responded to vibration and movement from everyday sounds. Researchers were able to generate 5 volts, which is enough to charge a smartphone.
“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 Dr Joe Briscoe from QMUL’s School of Engineering and Materials Science.