We have always wondered about the possibilities of getting unconventional power sources, the likes of which we have often come across in sci-fi movies. Well, researchers in Washington have finally come up with a really cool design that could lead to the development of water powered smartphones.
Yes, you heard it right. In the near future, we could have commercially available smartphones that would use the humidity in the air to power your smartphone and even your laptop. Eminent scientists at the MIT have found that it is possible to harness the power generated by water droplets jumping from a highly repelling surface. This energy can be used to power devices such as smartphones and this would be a great solution for people who often complain about their mobile device’s low battery life.
This has been the outcome of an incident where scientists found that water droplets gained electric charge when they spontaneously jumped away from super-hydrophobic surfaces during condensation. The electricity generated in this process may be less but it is sufficient to power small devices. This is the concept that is being used for developing a water powered smartphone design.
Nenad Miljkovic and Evelyn Wang from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are responsible for coming up with the design. Now electricity generation is not the only benefit that seems to come from this process. Apparently, this process also yields clean water. This could prove to be a boon for people who travel a lot in search of challenging terrains as they can get clean water if the design permits the water to be harvested for drinking also. Miljkovic said, “The device itself could be simple, consisting of a series of interleaved flat metal plates. Any conductive metal would serve the purpose of generating electricity, including cheaper aluminium.”
In the initial tests, only copper plates were used but ay metal can be used for it. The power generated for the first run was just 15 picowatts, or trillionths of a watt, per square centimetre of metal plate. But Miljkovic has assured that the process could be modified to achieve at least 1 microwatt, or millionth of a watt, per square centimetre. The requisite for a humid environment and a cooler temperature than the surrounding (to aid condensation) act as key constraints to the process.
It would be interesting to see a water powered smartphone in the commercial range as it would completely rule out all battery capacity issues. It would also prove to be really beneficial for people residing in and travelling to remote places where the possibility of finding a power source is meagre.
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