Ever wish your smartphone had a better battery life? Or that you could recharge on the go?
Well a voice command charging device, being developed in the University in Seoul, could make this happen.

The technology which turns sounds into electricity will commence recharge as soon as the user speaks to it. And the louder the voice the better the charge, so speak up. 

However, the current prototype being developed can convert sound of around 100 decibels –  the equivalent of loud traffic – into 50 millivolts of electricity, not enough just yet to power a phone, although researchers hope further advancements will be made.

This could be useful for smartphone users in particular high end device like the iPhone and some Android handsets which consume high volumes of battery power especially when on talk time.  And especially when on the move, users may never have to worry about dead phones ever again.

And what’s even more quirky about the invention is that the user may even be able to charge a device while simply singing along to their favourite tracks.

And it’s all thanks to zinc oxide which is sandwiched between two electrodes and a pad on top that vibrates when hit by sound waves, causing the wires to compress and thus charge, according to reports.

And it may not be just voices, other noisy equipment like lawnmowers could also be used to convert power.


‘A number of approaches for scavenging energy from environments have been intensively explored, says Dr Sang-Woo Kim, of Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, South Korea, who is leading the development.

The sound that always exists in our everyday life and environments has been overlooked as a source.

“This [experiment] motivated us to realise power generation by turning sound energy from speech, music or noise into electrical power,” he added. 

And the South Korean boffins are not the only ones studying this area. Research is also going on at the Texas A&M University, who are examining a way to use piezoelectrics to convert to energy for electronic devices including iPods, tablets and PCs. 

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