Smartphones have evolved brilliantly over the last 5 years when it comes to hardware and software they pack underneath. They are palm-sized computers that can run multiple applications simultaneously, comes with super vivid displays, high-end camera sensors and can run the most demanding graphical intensive games without breaking a sweat.
However, these pocket-sized marvels still miss on one of the most important aspects of modern electronic devices, i.e. long-lasting battery backup. While we have seen some improvements on the software side such as 'Ultra Saving modes', Quick Charge technology, etc., to overcome the issue, something concrete hasn't yet made its way into the market.
That said, researchers involved in the mobile industry are continuously working on it and if some latest reports are to be believed, you will soon be able to harvest energy from simple motions like scrolling on your smartphone or touching your wearable watch.
Yes, you heard it right. According to an IANS report, scientists from Pennsylvania State University have claimed to develop a device made out of an organic polymer that converts the mechanical energy from touching a smartphone screen or when a raindrop falls on it into electricity using a new energy harvesting concept.
The device, known as an ionic diode, contains two electrodes filled with ions almost like batteries. When a mechanical force is applied, the ions spread out on the membrane creating a continuous direct current that imparts microwatts of power to the main battery.
The charge dissipates once the ions settle down and the complete cycle occurs once every ten seconds. The device makes it to the list of technologies trying to prolong the life of devices like smartphones, wearables, and wireless sensors, and can be a solution to battery problems that users face worldwide.
Besides the mobile communication devices, this transducer could be used in biomedical devices pasted onto hospital patients or sensor tags for livestock powered by muscle contractions.
Last but not the least, the researchers wrote in the paper published in the journal Advanced Energy Materials that the new device can also gather energy from wind or ocean waves as a source of abundant, environmentally benign and sustainable power.
While the idea and execution seem quite legit, a working model is yet to be seen in everyday usage. Keep an eye on this space as we will keep updating the new developments to the technology.