Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Self-Powered Gadgets

At least someone is working on useful things for the future. Teeny-tiny power supplies that convert pressure waves into energy:
The field behind this innovation is "piezoelectrics," which aims to develop self-powering electronics, eliminating the need for replaceable power supplies, such as batteries. Piezoelectrics are actually materials, such as crystals or ceramics, which generate a significant amount of voltage when a form of mechanical stress is applied, such as a push.

The concept isn’t new. It was used in sonar devices during World War I, and is applied today in car cigarette lighters. Pressing down the lighter button causes impact on a piezoelectric crystal that in turn produces enough voltage to create a spark and ignite the gas.
Can't wait for the piezoelectric ride at Tomorrowland.