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New Nanotech Could Lead to Heart-Powered Phones

First commercially viable nanogenerators unveiled
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2011 8:55 AM CDT
Nanogenerator Breakthrough Could Lead to Pulse-Powered Electronics
This photo released by Georgia Tech University shows professor Zhong Lin Wang holding a microfiber nanogenerator composed of a pair of entangled fibers.    (AP Photo/Georgia Tech University)

(Newser) – Scientists say a big leap forward in nanotechnology has put them on the road to creating electronics that won't run out of juice until their owners do. Researchers say they have made the first commercially viable nanogenerators, which can use tiny movements like a pinch of a finger or even the beat of heart to produce electricity, the Telegraph reports. The new technology is thousands of times more powerful than its predecessors, raising the possibility of footstep-powered cell phones or pulse-powered insulin pumps.

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"This development represents a milestone toward producing portable electronics that can be powered by body movements without the use of batteries or electrical outlets," the lead researcher told an American Chemical Society meeting. "Our nanogenerators are poised to change lives in the future. Their potential is only limited by one's imagination." The tiny generators are likely to find their first use in environmental sensors, which they will be able to power using the energy from gusts of wind. (Read more electronics stories.)

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