Apart from eating, can you think of one more activity that almost every human does? Think no further; it’s walking. Apart from toddlers, aged people, and other people with a form of disability, walking is a norm for many of us. In fact, it is so normal that many people do not see the potential of kinetic energy (no pun intended).
For several years now, researchers have attempted to exploit the energy generated when people move by converting it to electrical energy. Thankfully, we are now a step closer to fully achieving this aim. Now, the impact of such a breakthrough might not ring a bell until we begin to highlight the possibilities. The major one is that you no longer need to stay at home, charging your phone just because you need it when you’re out.
But how does this technology work? Stay tuned to learn more.
How Does a Kinetic Charger Work?
A kinetic charger, as its name implies, converts the body movement into electric charge and the underlying technology is that of piezoelectricity. This electric charge can be stored in an external battery or can be used to charge the phone instantly. The usual method of electrical energy generation is from the movement of a conductor through a magnetic field, causing current to be induced in the conductor.
But now, the method has been extended to kinetic chargers. In this case, a special circuitry which only takes the positive voltage and passes it to the battery is included. Rather than using a rectifying diode for this, a tiny electrical transformer and a capacitor were employed to do the job. These components act as a microelectronic battery to the oscillating charger.
How Effective are Kinetic Chargers?
Currently, there are several teams working on the technology and the time to market varies widely. The same goes for the efficiency; there’s no true standard. For some chargers, they are just used to top-up the battery of devices and they cannot charge a dead device. Other companies are also working on improving this aspect.
Talking about different products, let’s see some of the kinetic chargers on the market.
This is a very popular kinetic energy charger that has received a lot of accolades in the market. The major reason why this product has really enjoyed acclaim is that it provides the user with about 24 hours of battery life. It has also been said that walking and running are two ways of generating energy. The product even comes with a mobile app that can be used to monitor the battery life.
The manufacturers of this device claim that this product can hold a charge for about 3 months and that it will keep on charging itself continually using kinetic energy from the user’s motion. Although some people who tested the product claimed that the energy generation mechanism is kind of weak and that it only works when the device is held in a particular position.
Applications of the Kinetic Charger
Earlier, we mentioned that being able to charge your phone in the course of your journey without a cumbersome charger is one major advantage. But this might not cut the mustard for some people. If you’re like that and you need more examples or applications of this technology, here are some.
Implanted Medical Devices
Implanted wearables, in general, will benefit from chargers that are able to provide energy via kinetic energy. It is believed that this will drastically reduce the cost of these devices. Also, the conventional strategy is to carry out surgery in order to remove and replace the batteries in these devices. Having kinetic chargers will go a long way in ensuring that the devices no longer need to be removed constantly.
Soldiers and Other Members of the Armed Force
Here’s another vital reason why the concept of kinetic charging must burgeon. These officers are usually in places where electricity is not readily available, and they have radios and other devices that require constant charging. If kinetic chargers are developed to be more efficient, it would be a radical breakthrough.
Many of the devices available today are not really exploiting kinetic energy and those that are developed to leverage energy from the movement are not so efficient. However, we can expect to see drastic improvements in the future.