External chargers could soon be superfluous

Scottish researchers have apparently succeeded in significantly improving the efficiency of converting kinetic energy into electrical energy. In the future, smartwatches could be charged simply by the movements of the user.

In the future, electronic devices such as smartwatches and smartphones will charge themselves. The kinetic energy of the owner is converted into electrical energy. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have pointed the way. They succeeded in significantly improving the efficiency of converting kinetic energy into electrical energy. Until now, this technology was only sufficient for mini devices with extremely low power consumption.

Plastic nanofibers as a basis

The internal charger is based on ultra-thin fibers made from polyvinylidene fluoride, a plastic with piezoelectric properties. The fibers are made through a technique called electrospinning. The starting material is in the form of a liquid. It is fitted with an electrode on the underside, and the opposite pole is on the top, which pulls the fine thread out of the liquid. The researchers transform these endless fibers into a kind of sponge. When pressure is applied to them, they generate electricity. The experts cut the three-dimensional structure into spots one square centimeter in size and attached electrodes. The system was then encased in silicon.

With an output of 40 microwatts per square centimeter, they are twice as powerful as the piezoelectric generators that exist today. “With the ever-growing interest in the use of wearable electronics and implants, avoiding e-waste and the limitations associated with battery capacity are some of the key challenges,” says co-developer Francisco Diaz Sanchez.

Batteries would last longer if they weren’t being charged in bursts, but were getting a little bit of power all the time. This would reduce the amount of used batteries. The small chargers could also be integrated into textiles to power electronics that monitor vital signs such as heartbeat and respiration.

Source: com! professional by www.com-magazin.de.

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