It's possible that in the future your voice conversations on your cell phone could generate enough electrical power to run the phone, without batteries.
And not just phones. The technology, which converts mechanical stress like vibrations into electrical energy, could power a whole range of low-power mobile devices and sensors.
That's one possible outcome of recent work by a team of Texas researchers, who appear to have discovered that by building a certain type of piezoelectric material to a specific thickness (about 21 nanometers, compared to a typical human hair of 100,000 nanometers), you can boost its energy production by 100 percent.
I think this is one of the more interesting concepts I've heard in a long time for generating power from almost thin air. There's almost no end to the possibilities here, and what pops immediately into my mind is that this same kind of technology could very easily save lives.
Sew this kind of material into blankets for the homeless and the movement they make while they sleep could be enough to power a heater that keeps them warm and above freezing. The possibilities are almost endless and I'm very curious to see what develops of it.