Wouldn't it be cool if one could recharge their phone's battery by shaking it for a few minutes? Yeah, that may sound a lot like an idea taken out of a sci-fi movie, but scientists are already developing the technology needed to make that possible. And no, it does not involve any use of black magic. Instead, the energy of vibrations and movement is being converted into voltage with the use of piezoelectric materials.
Scientists at Virginia Tech in Blacksbur lead by Shashank Priya are experimenting with zinc oxide, which is known for its piezoelectric properties. It can convert physical pressure and vibration into energy, which could potentially recharge batteries. Experiments have shown that the method can deliver about 50 millivolts under favorable conditions.
Unfortunately, that is far from enough to power a handset continuously. However, in an emergency situation, a few minutes of shaking a phone might be sufficient to provide the energy needed to make an important phone call, according to the scientists.