Foldable "FENG" Keyboard Powered by Human Motion

Michigan State University engineering researchers have created a new way to harvest energy from human motion, using a film-like device that can be folded to create more power. With the low-cost device, known as a nanogenerator, the engineers operated an LCD touch screen, a bank of 20 LED lights, and a flexible keyboard - all with a simple touching or pressing motion and without the aid of a battery. "What I foresee, relatively soon, is the capability of not having to charge your cell phone for an entire week, for example, because that energy will be produced by your movement," says electrical and computer engineering professor Nelson Sepulveda. The new process starts with a silicone wafer, which is then fabricated with thin sheets of environmentally friendly substances including silver, polyimide and polypropylene ferroelectret. Ions are added so that each layer in the device contains charged particles. Electrical energy is created when the device is compressed by human motion, or mechanical energy. The new device is called a biocompatible ferroelectret nanogenerator, or FENG.