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Future Tech: Charge your cell phone by talking into it

Consumer Reports News: May 09, 2011 03:03 PM

New research promises a way to charge phones using the human voice: Electrical engineers in South Korea have developed a new technique for turning sound into electricity, which in the future could let you charge up your cell phone by having a lengthy conversation on it as well.

This sound-converting technology uses strands of zinc oxide pressed between two electrodes. A sound-absorbing pad on top vibrates when sound waves hit it, causing the tiny wires to compress and release. This is what generates an electrical current. Sang-Woo Kim developed the technology at the Institute of Nanotechnology at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul.

A prototype of the technology was able to convert 100 decibels into 50 millivolts of electricity. That's not enough to charge a phone, but Kim and his team hope to produce more energy at lower sound levels by experimenting with the material used for the tiny wires.

Mobile phones could be charged by the power of speech [The Telegraph]

Maggie Shader

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