How Many Hamsters Does It Take to Power a Device?

Apparently Four. Four hamsters wearing tiny jackets can generate enough energy to power a nanodevice. Yes, that's right - they're wearing tiny little jackets. Read on for how in the world this works. Using piezoelectric energy generation technology, a team of researchers led by Zhong Lin Wang, a professor of materials science and engineering at Georgia Tech, has successfully figured out the age-old question: can hamsters on wheels really power up a device? Turns out, yeah, they can.

The latest nanogenerator consists of a series of zinc-oxide nanowires mounted on top of a flexible plastic surface. The wires are connected to one another and to an external electrical circuit by metal electrodes. When the plastic bends, the wires bend too, and this motion creates an electrical potential in the wires that drives current through the external circuit...They also harvested energy from a hamster wearing a small jacket affixed to the device as the rodent ran on an exercise wheel and scratched itself.

Piezoelectric power generation isn't new. Putting tiny jackets on hamsters, however, is. The focus of this experiment is the ability to generate small amounts of power needed for nanodevices. However, the team hopes to one day take this well beyond nanodevices, and is looking at one day being able to weave the generators into the fabric of a jacket that could generate enough energy through the wearer's movement to power devices.

From hamster jackets to human jackets. Nice.

Via Technology Review
More on Piezoelectric Power:
Piezoelectric Hydropower System May Power 20-40% of Pennsylvania Town
Piezoelectric Backpack Concept: Take a Walk, Charge Your Gadgets
Highway Robbery: Piezoelectric Roadways

Tags: Alternative Energy | Clean Energy | Energy