Paper cutting creates energy harvesting device

1 min read

Inspired by the Chinese and Japanese art of paper-cutting, researchers from China, Taiwan and Georgia Tech in the US have developed a device that can harvest and store energy from body movements.

Portable electronic devices usually draw their power from conventional rechargeable batteries, but Zhong Lin Wang, Chenguo Hu and their colleagues wanted to see if they could harvest energy from a user’s body movements. Wang and others have been working on this approach, creating triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs). However, most TENGs take several hours to charge small electronics, such as a sensor, and are made of acrylic, which is heavy.

So the researchers turned to a rhombic paper-cut design a few inches long and covered it with different materials to turn it into a power unit. The four outer sides – made of gold and graphite coated sandpaper – comprised the energy-storing supercapacitor element, while the inner surfaces – made of paper and coated in gold and a fluorinated ethylene propylene film – comprised the TENG energy harvester.

Pressing and releasing the device over just a few minutes is said to have charged the device to 1V, enough to power a remote control, temperature sensor or a watch.