Nano Bugle

A window into applied science supported by INL

Electricity from irregular mechanical movements

A hamster wearing a jacket with attached nanogenerators. Image obtained from Georgia Institute of Technology web site

A hamster wearing a jacket with attached nanogenerators. Image obtained from Georgia Institute of Technology web site

Can you imagine that while you were answering an email with your computer or performing any action on the keyboard of mobile devices, you were generating an electric current?

Maybe, thanks to a group of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology this could be possible. They had managed to generate electricity from the movement that we make with the finger when we type. The developed technology can transform any mechanical disturbance into electrical energy.

Through researches carried out in recent years, this team has succeeded in showing that nanagenerators can produce electricity from irregular mechanical movements, such as the vibration of the vocal cords or a hamster running in his cage. Obtaining energy from irregular movements is significant because most of the biomechanical energy is variable.

The piezoelectric effect is the base of the nanogenerator operation –where cables are between 100 and 800 nanometers in diameter. During this phenomenon, certain materials produce electric charges when they bent their selves and then get relaxed.

For the creation of the generators, they encapsulated zinc oxide wires on a flexible polymer substrate with a Shottky Barrier at one end of the wires to control the flow of current. They place the nanogenerators individually or in groups in the area where there are movements to generate electricity. These movements bend the substrate where they were encapsulated, producing small amounts of alternate electrical current.

Generating electrical energy from muscle movements or blood flow movements permits using these devices for feeding nanodevices that could control vital signs.

The synchronization must be perfect when multiple nanogeneradores work together to maximize the flow production. The use of a substrate that is flexible in one direction solved the synchronism problem, forcing the generators to think together. Even so, differences still take place in the output of each generator caused by variations in the bending amount and due to inconsistencies in handheld devices.


March 10, 2009 - Posted by | Nano News


  1. If you want to hear a reader’s feedback 🙂 , I rate this article for 4/5. Decent info, but I just have to go to that damn yahoo to find the missed parts. Thank you, anyway!

    Comment by How to Get Six Pack Fast | April 15, 2009 | Reply

  2. That would be cool – a computer/ laptop free from the battery charger cord. I would certainly buy that.

    Comment by Texas Electric | May 18, 2009 | Reply

  3. Super internet site / I will come back:)

    Comment by alelmeteepJes | May 21, 2009 | Reply

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