With the increasing role that mobile devices play in our lives, seeing a cell battery near death has quickly become one of the scariest things we see. But fear not, the scream you unleash when your phone powers down out of exhaustion might actually be able to recharge it in the future. A new technology is currently being developed that can turn speech and even background noise into useable electricity.
The new tech works by using the vibrations of speech, music, and other noises to compress and release miniature zinc oxide wires between pairs of electrodes. The electricity generated can then be stored in a battery for later use. The technology is still in a very early prototype phase, and isn’t yet capable of efficiently charging a relatively high-power device like a smartphone, but the engineers behind it feel there is still a lot of potential to explore.
User-generated energy is nothing particularly new in the gadget scene, and everyday devices like weather radios and flashlights have used hand cranks and other manual power options to charge their on-board batteries for some time. Still, the prospect of being able to keep a device charged just by using it for its intended purpose is very cool. Now if only the Nissan Leaf could charge its own battery just by playing The Flaming Lips on full volume… hey, we can dream, can’t we?
Editor’s Note: This story is a cross post from our new friends over at Tecca. Author credit from Tecca goes to Mike Wehner. Curious about more? Read from Tecca - GM invests $5 million in PowerMat, bringing wireless charging to autos