Power All Over Your Body

We know that you can transform the mechanical motions of your body into electrical energy, like when you turn the crank or shake a mechanically-powered flashlight. These types of mechanical motions are quite large compared to many of the day-to-day (and minute-to-minute) actions you perform–for example walking, breathing, and thumb wrestling.

What if we could harvest energy from these tiny movements? Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology are seeking the answer to this question with piezoelectric barium titanate. The electrical output of their devices is very small (in the nanoAmps) but over a long period and over many repetitions it would be possible to run a small electric device–even a biologically-embedded one. An alternative to blood power?

There is clearly a lot of potential in this technology, and we’ll be interested to see if and when we can start messing around with this stuff. Heck, it’s already been used to power a small LED and you all know just how much everyone would jump at the chance to cover themselves in self-powered LEDs…

19 thoughts on “Power All Over Your Body

  1. @Drake
    > What if the device was implanted near an artery? Couldn’t it be powered by the pulse then? No need to move and constant power.

    More load on the heart. And that’s not a good thing. As a guy who often suffers from low blood pressure I can tell that it’s definetely not a good idea.

  2. Of course there is no such thing as free power, the power does come from somewhere. Way before I risk some experimental implant I will just wear something in my shoe that converts steps into energy. I feel like there is more than “nano amps” involved in walking.

  3. This is ridiculous, what makes anyone think there is such thing as free energy? Like BiOzZ said, you’re just making the body work harder to provide the tiny bit of extra energy for the device.

    That said, converting these types of energy into electricity has got to be horribly inefficient.

  4. Im sure that at somepoint we will see a bio-suit that incorporates the ability mentioned in the article along with solar cells mounted on the skin of the suit. Shoot, I bet they could even go so far as to turn the suit into a “solar still” of sorts and reclaim the sweat produced by the body and store it in bladders around the suit that would help to cool off the body as well as give you a somewhat replenishable water supply.

    throw in some bioluminescence organic material to design the suit out of and you might have suit of the future.

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