A group of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology has announced a new breakthrough that could one day provide power to cell phones and other electronics devices by generating electricity from blood flow in the body.
The researchers have devised a method that allows the generation of energy by converting low-frequency vibrations from body movement, heartbeat, blood flow, and the wind into electricity. The discovery uses zinc oxide nanowires that generate electricity when subjected to mechanical stress.
The nanowires are very small at about 1/5,000th of the diameter of a human hair and about 1/25th of the length of a human hair. According to researcher Zhong Lin Wang from the Georgia Institute of Technology, the nanowires can be grown on materials like metals, ceramics, polymers, and clothing.
A group of researchers from MIT is working on a method of designing large, eco-friendly, stationary batteries that are made entirely from liquid metal and would be capable of storing enormous amounts of power.
The liquid batteries are being eyed as potential storage mediums for power generated by wind farms or solar cells and may one day serve as backup power systems for hospitals. Hospitals today relay on massive generators for power in emergencies.
One of the MIT researchers, Don Sadoway, said, “Since these batteries won’t be in someone’s hand or in a car, we don’t have to make them crash-worthy, idiot-proof, and it doesn’t have to operate at around body temperature.”
The battery Sadoway and his team have developed has no solid materials in them from the electrodes, membranes and any other parts of the battery. The anode, cathode, and membrane of the battery designed by the team are all made from molten liquids.
The team has tried many different combinations of liquids over the years in the battery. One of the first liquid metal combinations tried was molten antimony and magnesium with sodium sulfide between the two to store energy.
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Jie Chen, a nanotechnology engineer at the University of Alberta, is using nanotechnology to develop new cancer treatments that could one day replace radiation and chemotherapy. He is doing experiments with injected nanoparticles that contain a bamboo compound that is sensitive to ultrasound.
“So when the ultrasound is used and treated or targeted towards these compounds, then you will activate and generate something which can destroy the cancer, so it’s much safer compared to the conventional radiation.”
Dr. Nils Petersen, director general of the National Institute for Nanotechnology in Edmonton, said nanotech promises better, faster and cheaper ways of diagnosing and treating disease, developing drugs — even regrowing teeth.
“It is going to be pervasive, and it’s going to be something that will influence and transform what we’re doing over the next several decades,” Petersen said.