Energy-harvesting rubber could power phones

Energy-harvesting rubber could power phones
Talk about the rubber hitting the road. Researchers from Princeton and Caltech have come up with a power-generating rubber material that could harness walking and other movement to charge electronic devices.

The material is made from nanoribbons composed of lead zirconate titanate, or PZT, a ceramic substance that's "piezoelectric," meaning it generates an electrical voltage when pressure is applied. The "piezo-rubber chips" are embedded in clear silicone rubber sheets that produce electricity when flexed.

The scientists--who detail their findings in the new issue of Nano Letters, a journal of the American Chemical Society--say the rubber sheets could one day appear in shoes that power cell phones and other mobile electronic devices as the user walks or runs.

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