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New tech addresses smartphone sustainability issues

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - 10:05:06

One of the biggest reasons that people sell their old phones and upgrade to a new handset is that the battery life on their current device has dipped to unacceptable levels after just a year or two of usage.

Poor battery life can be caused by a number of things, from faults with the battery itself to having too many apps running at the same time. But one of the biggest issues is that smartphones are simply much more powerful than their predecessors, meaning even the most efficient models can drain a battery in under a day of intensive use.

This state of affairs is creating an e-waste dilemma, but researchers at Michigan State University in the US have come up with an interesting solution, which could counteract the churn in the mobile industry.

The team has created a nano-generator which is embedded in the display of a smartphone and can be used to generate electricity, based on the swipe action that users make with their fingers over the surface of the screen.

For every movement of the finger, small amounts of power are created and this current can be used to recharge the battery without the need for the device to be plugged into a mains connection.

While even the most furious of swipers will not be able to keep their handset of choice recharged indefinitely, the idea is that it will be enough to extend the battery life of power-hungry phones for longer than usual.

The people behind the system have even suggested that it might be embedded into a range of other devices and objects, from clothing and shoes to gadgets of all shapes and sizes, to take advantage of all the untapped energy which is expended every day and could be put to good use.




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