Dispel those smartphone fantasies though. It’s not like this breakthrough means that in a few years, breathing into your iPhone can juice it up. (Don’t you wish?) But the concept is feasible in the medical field at least. Thanks to the ongoing miniaturization revolution, a trio of scientists devised a way for breathing to create a microwatt of energy.
Seen above is a gigantic human nose, your future microwatt power source.
Okay, so the big question this shattering reveal inspires is, “How?” Here’s the answer that: between the collaborative trio of assistant professor Xudong Wang, his colleagues Jian Shi, and Chengliang Sun (all from University of Wisconsin-Madison), a somewhat functional pizoelectric microbelt whose material is susceptible to electric charges can be used to create breathe-powered electricity.
So imagine a small wired device like the one described above stuck to a hospital patient’s nose. The constant respiration produces enough charge to power the medical accoutrements that keeps tabs on their vital signs. It’s a sustainable solution that could very well mark a new era in hospital care.
Don’t expect to see this kind of technology in action the next time you check in at the local hospital—it’s still in its prototypical stage. In fact, the inventive trio behind it have only gone as far as publishing their research in an academic journal.
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