Type and Swipe to Recharge Your Smartphone

By: | April 18th, 2014

You know how we laugh at the giant bread boxes old cell phones resemble? Our grandchildren will find it equally laughable when we tell them we used to plug in our smartphones to charge up the battery.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are working on developing a new type of generator for charging electrical devices like smartphones and tablets. Instead of hunting down your power cord and plugging it into your smartphone to charge, electricity would instead be generated by typing and swiping.

This new technology shows a new great way to generate electricity which is not at all harmful for environment.

The idea is based on the triboelectric effect. The team has developed a friction-based triboelectric nanogenerator, or TENG, which produces a charge similar to static electricity when two sheets are rubbed or pushed together.

They made use of specially-adapted sheets of polymer and added the microscopic patterns which helped in increasing the level of friction and hence output. TENG is able to generate a power output density of 300 Watts per square meter, which is a sufficient amount to illuminate 1,000 LED bulbs with a single stamp of the foot.

About TENG

TENG is extremely adaptable and has already been successfully incorporated into various materials such as paper, metal, plastic and cloth. According to researchers, this technology will not be limited to charging phones or tablets but will soon be capable of contributing significantly to global energy production by making use of small generators to harness energy from ocean waves, rain drops or wind.


Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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