Wednesday, 22 Sep, 2010 Technology

Latest Invention: Technology that Could Power Cell Phone Using Sound Waves


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Sound creates vibrations that in their turn generate energy when travelling through a particular medium. This energy is called sound energy. Speakers use electricity to produce sound waves, but Korean researchers used zinc oxide to do the opposite - transform sound waves into electricity.

The team hopes that their latest invention could be used to convert the sound waves of the surroundings to power a cell phone, for example.

Young Jun Park and Sang-Woo Kim, authors of the article published in journal Advanced Materials, said that players use electricity to generate sound waves, but they wanted to do the reverse and produce power from sound waves.

It is worth mentioning that piezoelectrics are materials that can convert mechanical energy into electricity. They create an electrical charge under stress. Scientists bent zinc oxide, which is the key ingredient of calamine lotion, into a field of nanowires that were squeezed between two electrodes. Then the team subjected the pack to sound waves of 100 decibels, thus generating electrical current of 50 millivolts, informs Discovery News.

A cell phone needs a few volts to operate, which means that the current technology is so far useless. However, researchers feel optimistic about their latest invention, saying that the technology will evolve to eventually be used to power portable devices, such as cell phones. They also hope that their technology could be used to generate electricity from rush hour traffic noise.

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