Eco-Living Magazine

Electricity from Footsteps!

Posted on the 24 October 2012 by Dorsetenergized @dorsetenergized

I came across this interesting item in the journal Indian Chemical Engineer (not normally a riveting read!) this week…

Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory under the US Department of Energy have developed a paper-thin generator than can harness the mechanical energy of human footsteps. It is like a ‘living generator’ that uses viruses to convert the energy in the soles of one’s shoes into electricity. So far, these generators have been able to create power that can run a small LCD panel. In future, it could be used to power everything from portable electronics like phones to lighting systems. The viruses, which are harmless, are built to harness physical stress in an object to generate electricity.

The generator that was developed by the scientists works by tapping a finger on a postage stamp-sized electrode which is coated with specially engineered viruses. The viruses convert the force of the tapping into an electric charge. This generator is the first of its kind to harness the piezoelectric properties of a biological material. Piezoelectricity is the accumulation of a charge in a solid in response to mechanical stress. Although further research is required for its practical use, this is a significant development in the field of personal power generator and other devices based on viral electronics.


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