Over the years smartphones have become packed with more and more features and yet have become more simple to operate. Touch screens, millions of applications and high resolution and high quality cameras and displays are all the rage. Yet all of this has been accompanied by an infamous decrease in battery life. The old phones that used to require charging after days of usage now require a charge after only a few hours. This has become a major nuisance especially for those on the road. Luckily there maybe a simple solution to this problem.
A pool of research teams from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Minnesota Duluth, and China’s Sun Yat-sen University have come together to design a piezoelectric coating for smartphones that automatically charge the phone when it experiences vibrations (even slight ones). This could basically solve the low battery problem forever. Since vibrations are some of the most common occurrences in the universe. Everything in the universe moves and hence everything vibrates all the time.
The coating is made of the piezo-electric polymer, polyvinylidene fluoride. Tiny particles of zinc oxide are deposited on the polymer surface and then removed to leave spaces that make the material spongy instead of rigid. The kinetic energy of the vibrations allow the polymer to expand and contract and this generates a current that continuously charges the phone.
The idea seems almost too simple in theory and one wonders why no one ever thought of it before. As with every truly great innovation in any field of science, perhaps its always staring you in the face.