Friday, June 24, 2011

Sacre bleu! Je suis terrible!

Let me begin this post with an apology: I know that you have been on the edge of your seats, waiting for me to post from last Friday (not really, you had Pottermore to keep you anxious) and unfortunately I have been  busy at work this week... go figure.

With that being said, I am going to continue with my SciFri post for the day and hopefully I will be able to work on post this weekend that will be automatically posted next week. We shall see.

From the beginning of time, people have been trying to amass energy - whether this was from food that was gathered and distributed or finding sticks for firewood. Moving forward through history, various physical laws and natural resources were manipulated in order to lighten the burden of kinetic energy expense on humans - domesticated animals, wheels, eventually hydraulic, coal, natural gas, etc.

Use of these various forms of energy has exponentially increased since the mid-1850s and has increasingly come under scrutiny as the main contributing factor to global climate change and cataclysmic natural disasters. Most of the efforts made to combat the (over)use of non-renewable resources focus on fuel used for transportation and the generation and consumption of electricity. However, there seems to be a disconnect between the masses that want to see a decrease in energy consumption and their perception of what the energy is actually powering - a lot of consumption woes are rooted in food production and preparation, as well as packaging and material production/manufacturing.

There is often talk of energy shortage, that eventually these resources will run out because we our use vastly overshadows its natural production. It is also apparent that we produce and use a lot of energy but don't enjoy it (i.e. heat for your house or leaving lights on when you aren't home, leaving you phone charger plugged into the wall even though you aren't using it).

Every single thing you do requires energy. I'm not going to get in to it but it's wild. But what if we could harness the energy that we produce doing the same boring tasks every day and power the electronics we use? Researchers in Australia are working on developing a film that could be placed on various devices, that when touched, would produce energy to charge the device. Every time you touch the film, whether on your touch-screen device or while typing, you create electricity that can power the device. In the same vein as the hand-crank laptop or the energy-harnessing soccer ball, this could be revolutionary in providing technological resources for underprivileged communities and for minimizing the impact of energy used by electronics. 

If there were a pedometer for keystrokes, I probably type like... 2 miles a day. Do  you know how much energy that would be?!?! What if you could store it in something like an external hard drive and use it to power other things in your home? What products would you integrate this technology into and what devices would you power?

1 comment:

  1. A lot of watches these days are powered off of the movement of your wrist instead of batteries. Fun fact.

    Like the post. Love you.