Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne have for the first time discovered how they can use piezoelectric thin films to turn mechanical pressure into electricity.
Lead co-author of the findings at RMIT, Dr Madhu Bhaskaran, said the university’s research combined the potential of piezoelectrics - materials capable of converting pressure into electrical energy - and the cornerstone of microchip manufacturing, thin film technology.
“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,” Dr Bhaskaran said.
The Australian Research Council-funded study assessed the energy generation capabilities of piezoelectric thin films at the nanoscale, for the first time precisely measuring the level of electrical voltage and current - and therefore, power - that could be generated.
A club in London has used piezoelectricity to generate about 60 per cent of the energy needed to run the club. It requires people to dance on its dance floor to generate electricity.