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Could laptops be recharged by typing alone?

Piezoelectric technology being studied at RMIT University in Australia might lead to laptops that can be recharged by typing alone.

George Eastman House/Flickr Commons

What if you could power your laptop just by typing on it? Researchers in Australia are studying how piezoelectrics could charge devices through the mechanical pressure generated when using them.

In a study published in Advanced Functional Materials, Madhu Bhaskaran from RMIT University in Melbourne and colleagues for the first time managed to precisely measure voltage and current generation for nanoscale piezoelectric thin films.

"The power of piezoelectrics could be integrated into running shoes to charge mobile phones, enable laptops to be powered through typing or even used to convert blood pressure into a power source for pacemakers--essentially creating an everlasting battery," Bhaskaran said.

As she explains in the interview below, Bhaskaran says the amount of energy that can be generated by the thin films is about 10 times less than what's required for portable devices.

The next step in her research will be to boost power output to develop low-cost, compact components, which could take about three years. These pressure-activated components might one day replace conventional batteries.

All the more reason to perfect your typing skills.