Now You Can Produce Electricity While Walking – Claims New MIT Research

The MIT research powerhouse has achieved another landmark in its already extensive research profile.

Reportedly, MIT researchers have created an electrochemistry principle-based system, which can harness electrical power using mechanical energy.

MIT professor Ju Li and graduate students Soon Ju Choi and Sangtae Kim along with four others were behind this project and the study was published in the journal Nature Communications.

According to Li, this system might come in handy as engineer wearable tech because its build is quite pliant. Therefore, it can withstand all sorts of Applied Mechanical stress easily and humans can’t break it as well.

The system resembles Li-ion batteries since the polymer and metal sandwich produces electricity via performing bending action whenever it receives stress. Also, it’s quite dissimilar from previously developed methods like “triboelectric effect or piezoelectrics.”

electricity-gif
Gif Source: Giphy

The shortcoming in these previous systems is that these are compatible with machines that act as a source of high-frequency motion.

The new system contains lithium alloys as two thin sheets of electrodes combined together with a porous polymer soaked with liquid electrolytes. It efficiently transfers ions between the dual metal plates just like a fuel cell or a battery.

To generate electricity, the system needs to be bended so that the lithium ions start to flow through the polymer followed by a counteracting voltage between the two nodes in the external circuit.

Thus, it starts creating the electrical current in the external circuit that can easily power devices. Li says that

“The best we can hope for is about 15 percent.”

This system was demonstrated successfully using the first-gen device but as per Li, “in principle, [the efficiency] could be 100 percent.”

This power generation system can prove to be useful in biomedical devices and as stress sensory device on roads, footpaths and keyboards as well as mechanical and environmental monitoring too.

Li states that:

“We just created the opposite”, since applying stress in availing output voltage “was considered a parasitic effect in the battery community, [but] it’s a good way to evaluate damage mechanisms in batteries, a way to understand battery materials better”. 

This project reminds us of 15-year-old Angelo from the Philippines who developed “Electricity Harvesting Footwear Insole” that generates electricity solely by walking.

This is not the first time when researchers have come up with such project. Last year, United Kingdom’s Transport Minister and Highway Organization announced that it is planning to introduce first of a kind roads that can wirelessly charge the electric vehicles as they drive along them.

Note:

We have requested MIT to provide a demonstration video. This article will be updated upon MIT’s reply.

SourceMIT
 

Ryan De Souza

Ryan is a London-based member of the HackRead's Editorial team. A graduate of Maths and physics with a passion for geopolitics and human rights. Ryan places integrity at the pinnacle of successful journalism and believes this is somewhat lacking in traditional media. Ryan is an educator who balances his time between family, social activism and humanitarian causes and his vice is Football and cars.