As things stand now, there are two ways to charge your phone: wired and wireless. What if there was a third way that involved the use of your voice? That’s what researchers at Nokia and at the Queen Mary University of London are currently working on, as reported by Science Alert.
The researchers are currently working on a smartphone prototype that can be recharged by using sound waves. This is accomplished by “nanogenerators” that were designed to react to sound and electricity. With the nanogenerators, researchers discovered that when the smartphone was exposed to sounds like human voices, traffic, and music, it generated five volts of electricity. This is enough to charge a phone.
The nanogenerators are based on a four-year-old concept originally proposed by Korean scientists that involved a process known the piezoelectric effect. It details how nanowires from zinc oxide would be able to produce an electrical current, so long as they experienced mechanical stress, such as bending, stretching, and squashing.
It’s a concept that has a member of the team, engineer Joe Briscoe, very excited. “Being able to keep mobile devices working for longer, or do away with batteries completely by tapping into the stray energy that is all around us is an exciting concept,” said Briscoe in a press release. “We hope that we have brought this technology closer to viability.”