Electricity generation is something that has been the interest of research for many decades. Generating power while doing everyday activities is perhaps a dream of some of the innovators, and so far, that dream is close to being fully realized, now that we have piezoelectricity. Though it is technically not a new discovery, it is only being explored now, and serious considerations are being made to harness it fully. A piezoelectric generator works on the piezoelectric effect which is briefly discussed below.
There are certain materials (piezoelectric materials as they are technically referenced) that produce an electrical potential when they are undergoing some mechanical transformation. In simpler terms, when they are expanded or contracted, there is some voltage produced. The effect is also possible in reverse, where a current is passed through the material and causes the same mechanical transformation, described as compression and expansion.
The use of a piezoelectric generator has been suggested in the sole of shoes, where the mechanical compression is provided by our own body weight. This suggests that during walking, or jogging, some electricity can be generated to power any gadget that is not power hungry, like a portable mp3 player or even a phone. One would understand why the use of piezoelectric generators is something that would be widely accepted, especially now that the list of important gadgets is increasing. Having a personal power generator would bring massive change in the use of portable chargeable devices. In perspective, walking a mile would generate electricity to power your energy drained phone until you reach a more dependable power source. Of course right now, that is simply a wish, but hopefully, with increased research, it might be a realizable wish.
Besides using mechanical presses to expand and compress the piezoelectric materials, there is research going to see if the same generator can use sound waves and vibrations to be a source of power. The idea is if there was any source of energy- whether from a music player or a noisy outdoor, it would suffice to create piezoelectricity. This innovation would highly be welcomed, especially if it was brought into life.
The complex issue with a piezoelectric generator is that there is not enough electricity generated to amount to anything. The future hardly ever disappoints, so it is hoped that the challenge will be overcome in time to explore this new technology and integrate it into our everyday lives.
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