Imagine powering your devices simply by moving around, thanks to a system that generates energy from walking.
A technology developed by a group of researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong could make that moment close.
The team described the technology with a paper published in the journal Applied Physics Letters. An energy generator connected to the leg can generate 1.6 microwatts of energy without any increase in effort.
It is enough to power small vital signs or GPS monitoring devices.
"A walking-powered GPS can make a difference for the survival of climbers and mountaineers," says the study author Wei-Hsin Liao, professor in the engineering department of the University of Hong Kong.
The researchers used a special microfibre material capable of extracting energy from its extension: the leg is the limb with the greatest range of motion, so the choice naturally fell on its use.
Each time the leg flexes, the device tends to generate electricity by capturing biomechanical energy from natural movement.
"The frequency of human walking is not high, and therefore different methods based on the collection of energy from vibrations do not work properly," says Liao.
The prototype weighs only 307 grams and has been tested on walks of variable speed from 2 to 6,5km per hour. The effort required for walking is the same: the system generates energy without additional effort for the wearer.
The team will investigate future commercial uses for this energy technology.
I see no limits to their use: systems of this type eliminate the need to recharge a significant number of devices every day.