US researchers have created a nanofiber textile that harvests energy from movement, paving the way for clothing that could one day power an iPod or other wearable electronic devices, a study published on Wednesday said.
Using the same mechanical principle as a self-winding watch, but on scale measured in billionths of a meter, tiny nanogenerators can scavenge "wasted" energy from sound waves, vibrations, or even the human heart beat.
The fibers, developed by a team of scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology led by Zhong Lin Wang, are covered with pairs of zinc oxide nanowires that produce tiny pulses of electricity in response to friction.
"The two fibers scrub together just like two bottle brushes with their bristles touching," converting the mechanical motion into electrical energy, Wang said.
"Many of the devices could be put together to produce a higher output," he said.
This method of generating energy from friction is called the "piezoelectric effect."
The fibers could also be woven into curtains, tents or other structures to capture energy from wind motion, sound vibrations or other mechanical energy, said the study published in the UK journal Nature.
The human body contains many sources of energy that could drive nanogenerators, including blood flow pumped by the heart, exhalation from the lungs and walking.
Even the act of typing on a computer is a potential source of nano-scale energy.
Wang and his colleagues have made more than 200 of the mircroscopic nanogenerators. The fiber assemblies were each tested for 30 minutes to check durability and power production.
Other kinds of nanogenerators driven by scavenged energy aim to power biosensors to monitor a patient's glucose levels, strain sensors for bridges and environmental sensors to detect toxins.
There remains at least one significant problem before the nanofibers can become part of our daily wardrobes. Zinc oxide is sensitive to water, which means that clothes made from these fibers could never be washed, the study said.
The Czech Republic’s Senate on Wednesday passed a resolution that supports a possible visit by the senate president to Taiwan. The resolution, initiated by Czech Senator Pavel Fischer, was passed with 50 votes in favor, one against and one abstention. The resolution blasts Beijing for having its Prague embassy send a letter to former Czech Senate president Jaroslav Kubera earlier this year threatening repercussions for Czech businesses if he visited Taiwan. The resolution shows the Senate’s support for a visit to Taiwan by Senate President Milos Vystrcil, accompanied by Czech business representatives, as the visit would be in the diplomatic long-term interests
The government and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday both spoke out against plans by the Chinese government to enact a national security law in Hong Kong. Chinese officials yesterday confirmed that the National People’s Congress would review a bill “on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to safeguard national security.” The Presidential Office said that the announcement was evidence that the “one country, two systems” framework fundamentally clashes with democratic freedoms. The de-escalation of tensions between Hong Kong and Beijing relies on the Chinese government’s willingness to respond to Hong Kongers’ demands,
STRONGER DEFENSES: The announcement could be considered tacit US support for the nation’s indigenous arms manufacturing program, Joseph Wu told lawmakers Just hours after President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) inauguration on Wednesday, the US Department of State’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced in Washington the possible sale of 18 MK-48 Heavy Weight Torpedoes to Taiwan. Reacting to the announcement, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday told a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee that the ministry applauded the US move, which would help to uphold the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). The TRA states that the US should “provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character … to maintain the capacity of the US to resist any resort
NPP WARNING: The NPP’s chairman said that a security law proposed by Beijing means it has renounced its promise to maintain ‘one country, two systems’ in HK The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) yesterday proposed changing the law to provide protection for those seeking political asylum. China at the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Thursday introduced a draft security law for Hong Kong to ban treason, subversion and sedition, with a review expected next week. TPP caucus whip Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said that the party is concerned about democracy advocates in Hong Kong and has taken action to support them. The party has proposed an amendment to Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例), which stipulates that the government can offer