Is your smartphone always empty when you need it? The earpiece goes off in the middle of a conversation? These small technological drawbacks could soon become a memory thanks to the wearable wind turbine developed by a team of Chinese researchers. Recharge… to air. Ya Yang and his colleagues at the Beijing Institute of Nanoergy have created a small device that can generate energy with the simple movement of air caused while walking. The current, stored in a common battery, can be used to recharge a wide range of electronic devices.
Unlike the common wind turbines, which generate electricity by using magnets and solenoids, Yang’s is much smaller and simpler. It consists of two plastic strips inserted into a tube (as you can see in the short animation below) that when the air passes through the tube, they come into contact with each other generating static electricity. This energy is then captured and made available to power sensors and other small devices.
The prototype of the wind generator during a test. © Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems
Just a breath. To operate, the miniturbine needs… little: a 1.6 metre breeze per second of speed (approximately 5 km/h) is enough to start the power generation. To achieve the best, however, we must do more: the ideal conditions, in fact, are achieved with a flow of air from 4 to 8 meters per second, i.e. between 14.5 and 29 km/h, which are the speeds that can be reached only with a The search is only at the beginning: at the moment the amount of current generated allows just to turn on a handful of leds. Further studies will make the mini turbine powerful enough to power a smartphone and will require a careful evaluation of the resistance of the device to wear and weather. But researchers think big and are already trying to figure out how to exploit their research to evolve traditional wind turbines.
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