Tired of being on the go and having to search for an outlet you can use to recharge your phone? If researchers at Nokia and at the Queen Mary University of London are successful in their new joint endeavor, you might never have to think of hugging the wall while charging your phone ever again. As Science Alert informs us, the researchers have been working on a prototype smartphone that can be recharged using only the sound waves that we encounter every day when walking down the street.
A team of scientists from the Queen Mary University of London has teamed up with Nokia to create a sound-powered smartphone. About the size of a Nokia Lumia 925 phone, the device is filled with energy-harveting ‘nanogenerators’ that can react to sound vibrations and create electricity. The technology is based on a concept proposed by Korean scientists four years agocalled the piezoelectric effect, which describes how nanowires made from zinc oxide produce an electrical current when they’re subjected to some kind of mechanical stress, such as being squashed, stretched or bent. The Korean researchers discovered that these tiny nanowires were so sensitive, they’d bend in response to the pressure of sound waves. With this in mind, the UK team started off by spraying a coating of liquid zinc oxide onto a plastic sheet, says Ben Coxworth at Gizmag, which they placed into a mixture of chemicals and heated to 90ºC (194ºF). This made the liquid zinc oxide grow into tiny nanorods that spread all over the sheet.