As well know piezoelectric materials can convert vibration and mechanical forces into an electric current. This property has been used to create better microphone transducers and recently to harvest energy from shoes, clothing or other sources even from traffic,
Dr. Zhong and his team announced last year the creation of the world’s first piezoelectric nanogenerator and after short time, the first self powered nano-device complete with a wireless transmitter.
Now the team have announced progresses in creating a low cost large scale nanogenerator simple to manufacture.
“The generator is mainly made of plastics and zinc oxide, so the materials are environmentally friendly,” says Dr. Wang. This composite material generates a much higher power density than any other devices with a similar structure and has 7% of energy efficiency conversion.
As an example, if the piezoelectric nanogenerator were to be embedded in a pair of shoes, an average person could generate around 3W just by walking, enough to power an iPad 2. If you need more power you have to gain in weight.
The application of such a technology is very broad and could include biosensing, medical devices, environmental and health monitoring, defence technology and so on.